Palace Pier showed a brilliant turn of foot to power to glory in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
One of last year’s pre-eminent milers, the John and Thady Gosden-trained colt returned to action in style last month at Sandown, tuning up perfectly for his latest Group One assignment.
Settled towards the rear of the pack as Lord Campari took them along, jockey Frankie Dettori was assessing dangers approaching two furlongs out – and, satisfied the time was right, he let the 1-2 favourite go about his business.
The response was electric – but runner-up Lady Bowthorpe ran the race of her life to make sure it was not just a procession.
In the end a comfortable length and a half was the winning margin, with Top Rank also emerging with plenty of credit in third, another five and a half lengths back.
John Gosden said: “He’s a lovely horse, he relaxed well in the race – he got a little bit squeezed leaving the gate, Frankie said he got back further than he wanted.
“He came through very nicely, he said he had it won two out – he had to go. He got a little bit lonely looking around in front ,and I thought the filly ran a great race to be second. I’m thrilled for them.
“I think he would (get a mile and a quarter), he relaxes so well – you can put him where you want in a race, so to that extent we could do (step up), but it’s pretty obvious at this stage to go to the Queen Anne (at Royal Ascot) and think about it after that, whether we want to change trip.
“I could see that (Juddmonte International) as a very possible target for him – as you know Royal Ascot to the Eclipse is very tight, about 16 days, so that’s quite tough if they’ve had a hard race at Ascot to come back in 16 days.
“I think the Juddmonte would be a strong possibility, but there is a little race in France called the Prix Jacques le Marois at the same time, although getting to France is quite difficult now.
“He’s a son of Kingman. Kingman is a horse I could have brought back and run in the July Cup over six furlongs, he was that fast – whereas this horse has got from the dam’s side the ability to stay.”
As for the gallant runner-up, William Jarvis is also planning to go to the Royal meeting, for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, before heading for the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July fixture.
Jarvis said: “I hate finishing second, but I didn’t expect to win necessarily today – it was only if Palace Pier didn’t turn up, and I think he did run his race. I think we made him battle, and we are five lengths clear of the third.
“I think it was a pretty good performance. I’m delighted with her.”