Unbeaten Palace Pier cut to 12-1 for Derby after decisive Newcastle win
Palace Pier earned a quote of 12-1 (from 20) for the Investec Derby with Ladbrokes after maintaining his unbeaten record in the mile handicap at Newcastle on Saturday.
A wide-margin winner of both starts at Sandown last season, Palace Pier put three-and-a-quarter lengths between himself and market rival Acquitted on this occasion, with better things surely to follow.
"The second is a good horse, they like him a lot, and it was pleasing to see them pull clear of the rest," said assistant trainer Thady Gosden.
"Palace Pier was fairly asleep for most of the race but when he got the hang of things at the end he picked up very nicely.
"He should improve fitness-wise and mentally – I think the reason he came here was because he was still not really in the zone properly.
"He'll probably go into stakes races now."
'He's the fastest I've ever trained' - Far Above scorches to Palace House win
Far Above showed speed to burn from stall 13 to land the Group 3 Betfair-backed Palace House Stakes on Qipco 2,000 Guineas day at Newmarket.
The winner had a prolific profile last season, winning three of his four career starts including a Listed event at Deauville but took his form to a new high on his first start in Group company on what was his first attempt at the minimum trip.
Drawn highest of all, Far Above was quick to latch on to front-runner Ornate along the stands' rail and from halfway always looked the most likely winner.
So convincing in the end under PJ McDonald, the winner was handed a quote of 5-1 with Paddy Power for the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, although winning trainer James Tate warned that race would likely come too soon, with the trainer eyeing the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood later on the season.
"I've been very excited about this lad," said McDonald. "He's a horse who is blessed with natural speed and I was very pleased with him.
"Because we've been teaching him to settle he just missed the break but for the last three-quarters of the race he gave me a great feel. I've more than enough confidence he can step up to Group 1 class, I just hope we can keep him sound. He really needs cut in the ground."
Tate added: "He's the fastest I've ever trained and ideally would be better on softer ground. We were going to take him straight to the King's Stand at Royal Ascot but that would have been a tall order.
"As that is now only ten days away it will come too soon so we'll look at Goodwood and the King George Stakes."
Nayef Road cut to 20-1 for Ascot Gold Cup
Mark Johnston took his tally into double figures since racing resumed on Monday as Nayef Road became the stable's tenth success of the week when beating stablemate Mildenberger in the Group 3 Betway Sagaro Stakes.
An improving stayer last year and a good third behind Logician in the St Leger at Doncaster, Nayef Road was stepping beyond 1m7f for the first time under Ben Curtis and was still going strong at the end of the 2m½f contest, traditionally run at Ascot but transferred to Newcastle this season.
The Sagaro is traditionally a stepping stone to the Ascot Gold Cup and Paddy Power cut the winner to 20-1 (from 66) for the royal meeting's feature race following his victory.
Curtis said: "Everything went perfect, Nayef Road stays well and all went to plan. I got a lovely position from stall ten and he travelled round beautifully. When I went for him he put the race to bed, it was an armchair ride for me.
"I sat down with my agent and we said we'd go for quality over numbers. With two Group 3 wins I have to pinch myself, I didn't think it would go that well."
The winning rider added: "It was great to get the ride, I was lucky to fall on to one like that. I've not had many rides for Mark Johnston so it was nice to get him a winner."
Johnston unleashes smart juvenile Thunder Of Niagara
Mark Johnston unleashed another smart juvenile at Newcastle on Saturday as Thunder Of Niagara make a winning debut in the 6f maiden.
Following Eye Of Heaven, Pelekai and Army Of India earlier in the week, Thunder Of Niagara became the stable's fourth two-year-old winner and looks to be heading to Royal Ascot next after putting his rivals to the sword with conviction under Joe Fanning.
"I kicked early enough and thought I may have gone a little bit early but he kept going for me." said Fanning.
Makanah first off the mark at HQ
Makanah landed the opener on Qipco 2,000 Guineas day at Newmarket but needed every yard in the 5f sprint handicap to master Copper Knight.
Trained by Julie Camacho and ridden by Paul Mulrennan, Makanah hit top gear close home to inch past Copper Knight and prevail by a short-head.
"I was drawn in one but managed to get a little bit of cover and lengthened well in the final 100 yards," said Mulrennan.
"He's very versatile but it rode beautiful out there. I think he can keep improving and think there's plenty more to come."
Winning reaction from around the tracks
Winning trainer Richard Fahey: "I'm just delighted that he ran a race because he'd been working well. He was a horse that we were keen to buy so it's good that he won. He was a good-looking horse and I think he'd had a few niggly problems, nothing serious. I think we've probably got him at the right time."
Assistant trainer Thady Gosden: "I'm very pleased, that was Daarik's first run back for a long time. He had a bit of a setback last year and we've given of time and he's done it well there. I don't he's necessarily an all-weather dependent horse, it may or may not be a coincidence he's run his best races here.
"There's a new seven-furlong handicap on the Tuesday of Royal Ascot. It's a pretty quick time to back him up but we'll see how he is, or possibly look at a mile. He ran very well in a mile race here."
Winner: Macho Pride
Winning trainer Ben Haslam: "We were hopeful. Macho Pride wasn't cheap, we don't spend €65,000 every day of the week so we were expecting something. We trained his half-sister to win three times as a juvenile and he looked a slightly better model at the yearling sale. He did it well and was obviously green and will improve. We will see how he comes out of this but if he is okay we will think of Royal Ascot, probably for either the Norfolk or the Windsor Castle."
Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum: "We've always liked the horse and fair play to Sheikh Hamdan for keeping him in training at four. As he's by Showcasing he likes a bit of give so the rain came just in time. If the race had been yesterday he wouldn't have run."
Winning rider Jack Mitchell: "I'm really pleased. Her work has been good at home and it was nice to get her finally on the track. She's quick, she was just a bit green early on, but once she got up and down she did it quite nicely. That will improve her a lot, a run always brings a horse on, but I'm pleased the way she did that. She has a good mind and a good racing attitude.
Winner: Desert Land
Winning rider: Shane Kelly: "He got the gaps at the right time, he got the trip well and hopefully he can build on that again."
Winner: Lady Bowthorpe
Winning rider Thomas Greatrex: "It was very straightforward, she showed loads of gears and went through the race nice and settled and picked up really good. I was impressed with her.
"I planned to be handy, but she was a bit quirky in the stalls so we had to sit and suffer, but she finished off really well. Mr [William] Jarvis said she was one for this year and she's coming good now."
Winning rider Kieran O'Neill: "That was nice. I gave him a bad ride the last day, I rang John and told him that. I kicked on down the hill because we had to. I was quite confident coming here today, thought he had loads left in the tank the last day. John has done some job with him because he keeps improving. I didn't expect him to show that turn of foot off the bend because he was strong in the early stages. He could be anything."
Winning trainer: Marcus Tregoning: "It was a good performance and he's still progressing. He's idled a bit in front. I trained the mother, who was pretty decent and, by Siyouni, you always think they could be pretty good. He's a nice, big, scopey horse. We like him and hopefully he can progress."
Winning rider Ryan Tate: "When he drops down to below 70 [handicap mark] then he's always got a chance. He doesn't normally run a bad race when he's in his grade. The race worked out nicely for him, he was in a prominent position and when I asked him he picked up. It was the right result."
Winner: Oksana Astankova
Winning rider Charlie Bishop: "The boss was confident she'd make a bold show. I think off the back of today's run she'd be stepping up in trip. She's slow but the penny was dropping late on. She was really tough too."
Winning rider Charlie Bishop: "He's taken a bit of work to get him into a racehorse but he's all coming together now. He settled much better today, which is the main thing. He's bred to stay the trip and he did well."
Winner: Avorisk Et Perlis
Winning Gary Moore: "She's done it well, we're very pleased. I'm happy for the owner. We bought her to go jumping but she didn't seem to stay - she did there though which is good."
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