Palace Pier Wins Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and Gains Automatic Berth into FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile
Photo courtesy of Megan Ridgewell
ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 15, 2021) — Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s 4-year-old colt Palace Pier (GB) stretched his career record to eight wins in nine starts by capturing the US$563,000 Queen Anne Stakes (G1), a victory which earned him a guaranteed starting position in the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
“That was a pressure ride, the first one. You want everything to go right and it did. The weight is off the shoulders,” said winning jockey Frankie Dettori after steering the John and Thady Gosden-trained odds-on favorite to a 1 ½-length success in the opening race of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting. A bay son of Kingman (GB) out of Nayef mare Beach Frolic (GB), Palace Pier completed the mile in 1:39.18 over on a course listed as good to firm.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Palace Pier to start in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
With last year’s Royal meeting having been held behind closed doors under pandemic restrictions, a limited crowd of 12,000 is being admitted each day, the biggest attendance at a British race meeting since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Racing’s showman Dettori did not want to let the audience down and, despite having to get to work earlier in the race than expected, he guided the idling Palace Pier to an ultimately comfortable success over Lope Y Fernandez (IRE), third in last year’s FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, with Sir Busker (IRE), third.
“You can rely on him,” said the 50-year-old Dettori, who won his seventh Queen Anne. “It’s like getting one of the proper guys to take the first penalty and put it in the back of the net. This is one of the best horses in the world so you want everything to go right and everything did go right.
“I am just reflecting on 31 years ago when I won my first Royal Ascot race in the Queen Anne on Markofdistinction (GB). So much water has gone under the bridge, but I am still getting the same kick. I am pretty relieved that everything went smooth. It takes a lot of pressure off. He is the best miler around the world.
“You can’t imagine what it’s like to see the colors, see the people screaming,” Dettori added. “It’s a mirage. I am so pleased. Ascot with people is amazing, especially for me. It’s been part of my life for the great success that I’ve had. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Dettori said Palace Pier was able to win despite not appearing as comfortable on ground much quicker than he encountered in his previous race, a victory in the Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury on May 15. Today’s win was the third Group 1 score for Palace Pier, who also won last year’s Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville.
John Gosden, training at his first Royal Ascot in partnership with his son Thady, had enjoyed 55 Royal meeting winners on his own but had never won the Queen Anne until this year.
“I’ve been second in it three times. It took Thady to get me over the line,” said Gosden. “We were very aware there was no pace in the race. Pogo (IRE) was the only horse who has gone forward so Frankie said, ‘I am drawn where I am, I’ll just stay on the wing’ because we suspected a slow pace, which is what we got.
“He’s done it very smoothly, come through and won his race. He is exactly like his father, as soon as he gets there, he’s done enough. If I worked him at home with a very ordinary horse, he will just stay with him. That’s his game.”
There were some pre-race nerves, Gosden continued: “When you are odds-on like that it would be a bit odd if you weren’t nervous because the only thing around the corner is the banana skin.
“It can happen but Frankie was aware there would be no pace, asserted early, and I noticed he was hands and heels and a flick to keep him going. The horse was definitely playing and had a normal blow afterwards. He’s probably done more in his work at home than he had to do today.”
Kingman won the Sussex Stakes (G1) and Prix Jacques Le Marois, after winning the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) as a 3-year-old, and the same 1-mile races could be on Palace Pier’s summer agenda, unless he moves up in distance.
“He is in races like the Juddmonte International, but he is also in the Sussex, the Prix Jacques Le Marois so I will talk to the owner and we will work out a plot,” said Gosden. “All the options are open. He will have no trouble with a mile and a quarter if we choose to go there.”
Palace Pier is the fifth horse this year to earn a “Win and You’re In” berth into the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. He joins Jet Dark (SAF), who won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth in South Africa; Succeso (CHI), who captured the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) at Club Hipico Santiago in Chile; Smooth Like Strait, winner of the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park; and Danon Kingly (JPN), who won the Yasuda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.
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