Dubai: Palace Pier became the biggest international winner for Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with a scintillating last to first performance in the one-million-euro Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, France, on Sunday.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, who is in red-hot form, the winner crossed the line three-quarters of a length clear of Coronation Stakes victory over Stephane Pasquier and Alpine Star, with Irish raider and Queen Stakes hero Circus Maximus a well-beaten third.
Godolphin’s Persian King, last year’s French Derby winner ran below expectations to finish fourth for jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.
The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot (October 17) and the Breeders’ Cup Mile (November 7) are being seen as likely targets for British-trained Palace Pier, who is named after two cruciform condominium towers in Toronto,
Last month, the three-year-old son of Kingman landed the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sheikh Hamdan’s previous biggest international success came at York when Threading won the Lowther Stakes in 2017.
However, the richest win of his career was delivered by Prince Bishop when he captured the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in 2015.
After performing his trademark flying dismount, Dettori said: “Palace Pier is a special horse. We went a good gallop on testing ground. I asked him to get closer and before I knew it I was two lengths in front so it just shows what he can do. He’s a lovely horse to be around and has delivered a lot.
“Alpine Star is very good and I’m not surprised they finished first and second.”
Dettori eschewed some good ride in the UK to head to Deauville instead and the gamble worked.
“I made the right choice to come,” he told French television. “I knew I had two super horses and they both won, and I was very taken by Palace Pier’s performance today. The ground was testing, and he put it to bed in great style.
“I love the horse. He’s very cool, he’s got a good cruising speed, a great kick, nothing fazes him.”
The winner was cut to 5-1 from 10 for the Breeders’ Cup Mile but Dettori suggested that the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot could be next on Palace Pier’s agenda.
“The QEII would be an obvious target knowing that he handles soft ground,” said Dettori. “He’s only run five times so I hope he stays in training as he has a lot more to offer.”
On Saturday, Dettori and Mishriff recorded a comfortable victory in the Prix Guillaume D’Ornano at Deauville. The Italian ace also said he will stay in the Normandy town this week to ride in more Group races next weekend before he returns to Britain where he will have to go into quarantine time before he can pull on his riding boots again.