Palace Pier won his third Group 1 race of his illustrious career with a dominate display in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. John Gosden's four year old had looked as good as ever when routing three rivals by upwards of eight lengths in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown last month and he produced an even better display here. Frankie Dettori took a nonchalant look over his shoulder approaching the two furlongs marker before unleashing his mount with his trademark explosive turn of foot. Stretching clear, the son of Kingman was in a different league to his opponents crossing the line a length and a half lengths clear. The Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot will be next and, needless to say, Palace Pier will be mighty hard to beat. Long-term, I would dearly love to see him tried over ten furlongs with the Juddmonte International at York tailormade for him. He is a colt of the highest class.
That comment is also beginning to apply to another Newmarket trained four year old, Al Aasy. William Haggas' charge won the Group 3 John Porter Stakes at Newbury in April and the son of Sea The Stars was even more convincing in victory in another Group 3 over the same course and distance, the Aston Park Stakes. Jim Crowley settled his mount in the rear before breezing to the front with a couple of furlongs to run. A four lengths winner, he treated the likes of former Leger winner Logician and Dante Stakes winner Thunderous with disdain. The Coronation Cup at Epsom (4th June) is his next target and it will his first crack at Group 1 company. The Shadwell Estate owned colt has always been held in the highest regard at Somerville Lodge and he is beginning to fulfil their lofty ambitions. On this evidence, he looks one of the best middle distance performers in the UK at present.
Both Al Aasy and Palace Pier featured in the Top 40 Prospects in Ahead On The Flat last year and the progressive Bay Bridge (11/4) is included in the same section in 2021. Following a five lengths maiden win at Newcastle during the spring, the son of New Bay was allocated an opening mark of 90. Sir Michael Stoute's colt made a mockery of such a rating in the London Gold Cup at the Berkshire track. Always travelling strongly under Ryan Moore, he readily sliced through the field before powering away to win by four lengths. He looks every inch a Pattern horse with the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot (17th June) an obvious target.
Winners on Saturday featured in Ahead On The Flat included Al Aasy (10/11), Ametist (Evens), Ascension (14/1), Bay Bridge (11/4), Eshaada (18/1), Modus Operandi (5/2), Palace Pier (1/2) and Skytree (11/4).
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