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Palace Pier cements John Gosden as Royal Ascot 2020's top trainer as Frankie Dettori carries off Saturday treble with electrifying show of speed in St James's Palace Stakes




John Gosden paid tribute to his Clarehaven Stables staff after a stunning ride by Frankie Dettori on Palace Pier clinched him this year's champion trainer award at Royal Ascot.

There were comparisons made with his previous 2014 St James's Palace Stakes winner Kingman when Palace Pier, whom he had sired, came from third to out sprint favourites Pinatubo and Wichita in the final furlong in the same 1m Group 1 race this afternoon.

Dettori and Palace Pier, a 4/1 shot, had been at the back of the field initially before coming round on the outside to stunning effect in the closing stages to win by just over a length.

Newmarket trainer John Gosden has ended Royal Ascot as the top trainerPicture: David Davies/PA Wire
Newmarket trainer John Gosden has ended Royal Ascot as the top trainerPicture: David Davies/PA Wire

It continued a magnificent Royal Ascot for Gosden, following on from Dettori's extraordinary 10-length win in the Gold Cup on Stradivarius, bringing up his sixth victory at the five-day festival.

The opening day had seen the Bury Road trainer bring up his half century of Royal Ascot winners with Franky Darling in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.

Palace Pier's victory left him with an unassailable lead ahead in the trainer's standings with three races to go, ahead of Aiden O'Brien and Roger Varian (both four wins). Gosden had also claimed one second and two third places, compared to O'Brien's four and three and Varian's three and two.

But he made sure the credit went to his team when asked by ITV how it felt to come out on top at the world-famous event: "First of all it is fantastic that we are here, maybe a bit of a miracle; we only started racing on June 1st and Ascot have put on a fantastic bio-secure environment for us out here in the open air all masked up.

"I think it is great to get the meeting off and for all of my staff, who worked incredibly hard through the whole of lockdown; we were in every day training the horses.

"You can't leave the horses in the boxes. If they are not refreshed they are going to hurt themselves. They have to exercise.

"We were out on the heath with everyone else every day socially distanced and we have got our horses there fit and well and it is testament to them more than it is anything to do with the trainer."

Of Palace Pier's win, which made it three unbeaten starts and a first in Group 1 company, he said: "It is a very fulfilling win. He is lazy in the morning and doesn't show in his work.

"The race was rough and they were getting close to each other but this stiff mile suited him. He is a classy horse."

He said they would point to the Jacques le Marois that his father Kingman won at Deauville.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Frankie Dettori leaps from Frankly Darling after winning The Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on Day 1 of the Royal Meeting on June 16, 2020 in Ascot, England. The Queen will miss out on attending Royal Ascot in person for the first time in her 68 year reign. Her Majesty is reported to be planning to watch the racing from home at Windsor Castle, but she will not be able to attend, as the meet goes on behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images). (36980766)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Frankie Dettori leaps from Frankly Darling after winning The Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on Day 1 of the Royal Meeting on June 16, 2020 in Ascot, England. The Queen will miss out on attending Royal Ascot in person for the first time in her 68 year reign. Her Majesty is reported to be planning to watch the racing from home at Windsor Castle, but she will not be able to attend, as the meet goes on behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images). (36980766)

It was also provided a big moment for Newmarket jockey Detorri as it completed a 150-1 Saturday treble, including two Group 1s to claim the top jockey at the festival.

His other wins this afternoon came on Campanelle (9-2) in the Queen Mary Stakes and Alpine Star (9-2) in the Coronation Stakes.

Palace Pier was Detorri's 73rd Royal Ascot winner, equalling Pat Eddery's record.

"I sat next to him for 15 years, he was one of my heroes, his nickname was God so it gives me great satisfaction," said Dettori.


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