By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know Palace Pier and Frankie Dettori captured the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois on heavy ground at Deauville on Sunday. In fact, you’ve probably seen the race – but here’s some other stuff you might also like to know.
What’s going on?
QEII next for Palace Pier
John Gosden nominated the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes for Palace Pier after the colt took his career record to five out of five by emulating his sire Kingman with victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois.
“His main target will be the QEII on Champions Day at Ascot,” said Gosden, speaking to the Press Association. “Everything will revolve around that, although most importantly everything depends on how the horse feels once we get him back home.”
Palace Pier is also 5-1 (from 10) for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on November 7.
Gosden-trained stablemate Mishriff is also set for the British Champions Day card, with the Qipco Champion Stakes said to be “almost tailor-made” for the French Derby winner.
Frankie Dettori: ‘I made the right choice’
Eyebrows were raised when Frankie Dettori decided to ride in France at the weekend, which means he has to miss the four-day York Ebor meeting owing to coronavirus quarantine restrictions in the UK.
High-profile Deaville victories on Mishriff and Palace Pier vindicated his move. “I knew I had two super horses and they both won,” Dettori said after performing his trademark flying dismount in the winner’s enclosure. “I made the right choice to come.”
The jockey will stay in France to ride Wesley Ward’s Royal Ascot winner Campanelle in the Prix Morny. “I’m gonna go food tasting and sightseeing,” said Dettori. “I’ve got a lot of friends here and I’ll ride next weekend.”
Niarchos narrowly nixed
In a longstanding sponsorship, the Niarchos Family have backed the Jacques le Marois in the name of their Normandy stud, the Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard, since 1986,
They like to win their own money, too, the famous cross-belt silks having been carried to success on no fewer than nine previous occasions, including twice by the great Miesque in 1987 and 1988.
This time around, however, they had to settle for second and third with admirable filly Alpine Star, who went down by three-quarters of a length after a game effort, and Circus Maximus.
Shall we talk about it?
Frankie Dettori (Palace Pier’s jockey): “I was very taken by this performance today. The ground was testing and these were the best horses he’s run with, and he put it to bed in great style. I love the horse. He’s got a good cruising speed, a good kick, nothing fazes him. He’s only run five times and I’m sure we could improve him a little bit but he’s already very good.
“Palace Pier is a special horse. I asked him to get closer and all of a sudden the turbo kicked in – before I knew it I was ahead at the 300, from three lengths behind I was two lengths in front, so it just shows you what he can do.
“The QEII would be an obvious target knowing that he handles soft ground. He’s only run five times so I hope he stays in training as he’s got lot more to offer next year.”
John Gosden (Palace Pier’s trainer): “I think it was pretty clear watching the race that he wasn’t enjoying the ground. I saw Frankie moving his hands, and he was still fully 600 metres from home, but the horse showed a lot of guts and a lot of class.
“His main target will be the QEII on Champions Day at Ascot. Everything will revolve around that, although most importantly everything depends on how the horse feels once we get him back home.”