Reaching significant milestones is fast becoming a habit for trainer Hugo Palmer this season and Galileo Gold delivered him another ground-breaking success with his first Royal Ascot winner in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
After gifting the Newmarket handler his first British Classic winner when taking the 2000 Guineas back in April, the son of Paco Boy once again produce the goods on the big occasion to land a second Group One win of the campaign and atone for his defeat in the Irish Guineas.
Although drawn out wide in stall seven, Frankie Dettori was quick to get the easy-to-back 6-1 chance over to the running rail and slot in behind the pacemaking Cymric as both his chief market rivals, French Guineas winner The Gurkha and his Curragh conqueror Awtaad, held positions near to the rear of the field.
Waiting for the right moment to make his move, Dettori sent the Al Shaqab Racing-owned three-year-old on past Cymric at the two-furlong pole in what was to be a race-winning move.
In a contest which was billed as the race of the meeting, the finish did not disappoint as both The Gurkha and Awtaad moved through to set up an enthralling final furlong between the three Classic heroes.
Asked by Dettori for his all out in front, Galileo Gold responded in the fashion of a champion to pull out more and deny The Gurkha by a length and a quarter, with Awtaad a further half a length away back in third.
Palmer said: “I’m speechless. I am not sure we turned it round as he ran a huge race in Ireland. I have said quite a lot in the press this week that he was not able to use his stride in Ireland.
“The difference today was the horse’s stride was never broken. Frankie got him into the most magnificent rhythm.. It showed that in every level of sport you need everything to go right. Everything went right today and he won. He is a remarkable colt
“No one knows their way around here better than Frankie Dettori. One of the great treats of the horse being owned by Al Shaqab is I am able to call on Frankie and he takes a lot of variables out.
“He was so quick out of the stalls we just borrowed the Godolphin pacemaker. He has five-furlong speed and everyone could see that today, and you could see in the first two furlongs why he didn’t run in the Derby as Frankie was restraining him at championship mile pace.
“I think it is fair to say he has proved himself to be the best three-year-old colt in Europe.”
As to where Galileo Gold will appear next Palmer indicated it will be all systems go to next month’s Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
A step up in trip may now be in store for The Gurkha, according to his trainer Aidan O’Brien.
He said: “He ran very well. He travelled well and quickened well.
“Frankie got a good position up front with no interference. We’re looking forward to running our horse next time. He can step up in trip if he wants - I don’t think he needs to - but we’ll see.”
Although happy enough with the performance of Awtaad, his trainer Kevin Prendergast said future plans are up in the air: “He ran a good race but it wasn’t his day and the best horse won. We’ll have another day.
“I’ve nothing in mind for him, really. We’ll get him home, talk to the boss (Sheikh Hamdan) and see what he wants to do.”
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