Palace Pier puts Gosden top trainer at Royal Ascot with St James’s Palace win

Palace Pier gave trainer John Gosden a sixth victory of Royal Ascot 2024 in the 1m St James’s Palace Stakes at odds of 4/1.

It was a quickfire Group 1 double for Frankie Dettori following his win on Alpine Star in the Coronation Stakes in the previous race.

Gosden also trained Palace Pier’s sire, Kingman, to St James’s Palace Stakes glory. This was the culmination of a plan.

Rather than contest the 2000 Guineas like 11/8 market leader Pinatubo and 9/4 second-favourite Wichita, Palace Pier sidestepped that Classic.

He ran in a mile handicap at Newcastle which he won. Palace Pier fell out of the gate and, rather than engage in the scrimmaging on the inside, Dettori took him round the outside.

While other tactics didn’t pan out, this worked like a charm. Palace Pier showed greater stamina than Pinatubo close home when pushed out for a ready length victory.

The front three pulled a further 5 1/2 lengths clear of the remainder. Gosden said after the St James’s Palace Stakes that Palace Pier would go to France for the Prix Jacques Le Marois next.

Analysis: St James’s Palace Stakes tactics pay off for Palace Pier

Jamie Clark, Editor

What a tactical race this was. I don’t know whether the Balldoyle outsiders were supposed to be spoilers or pacemakers, but the Aidan O’Brien plan did not come off.

Arizona and Royal Dornoch had no chance. The market told you that, so something went very wrong. Wichita went past Pinatubo again after the winning post, so may want further now.

The champion juvenile, meanwhile, is now a twice beaten favourite this season. The Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood was mooted after the St James’s Palace Stakes, and that is Godolphin’s decision.

A plan hatched by Gosden and Dettori worked to perfection with Palace Pier, meanwhile. It also looks a wise move to head across the Channel to Deauville later this summer in search of more Group 1 prize money.

In this strange Flat season, form cannot be taken literally. Placings from both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas were reversed at Royal Ascot in the space of 40 minutes.

That makes it tougher for punters in their eternal battle with the bookies. At the moment, the jury remains out on Pinatubo.

Debate will rage, though. Is he the ultimate precocious two-year-old or just a horse that hasn’t trained on? I will reserve judgement.

Palace Pier deserves the last word. Audacious as it is to go from handicap company straight into a Group 1, Gosden clearly wasn’t tilting at windmills!

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