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Palace Pier will be a tough nut to crack
PALACE PIER‘s three-year-old campaign ended on a low note when he was a beaten odds-on favourite in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day, but he had previously shown form that marked him down as Timeform’s highest-rated horse in training with a figure of 132. He will be tough to topple if his 8-length success on his reappearance in a Group 2 at Sandown last Friday is anything to go by.
Trainer John Gosden had warned that Palace Pier wasn’t fully fit for his reappearance, but he was still far too good for his three rivals – hitting the line hard after being shaken up 2 furlongs out. He is a class act, who is very much the one to beat in the mile division.
Adayar the best prospect in Sandown’s classic trial
Sandown’s classic trial rarely proves a significant pointer to the Derby, but there was plenty to like about the performance of runner-up ADAYAR. Adayar had only contested a couple of maidens as a juvenile but he shaped with obvious promise on his first crack in pattern company, making significant ground from the rear to be beaten only half-a-length by Alenquer.
Adayar has excellent credentials on paper – he is by Frankel out of an Irish 1000 Guineas runner-up – and took the eye on looks in the parade ring, so has not reached the ceiling of his ability. He will be well worth his place in the Derby.
Noon Star will relish the Oaks trip
Few horses in training have a better pedigree than NOON STAR, who is by Galileo and out of multiple Group 1 winner Midday. Galileo won the Derby, while Midday was only narrowly denied by Sariska in the Oaks, so on pedigree Noon Star is bred to thrive over a mile-and-half.
Her strength at the finish over a mile and a quarter at Wetherby on Sunday also suggests that she will benefit from a stiffer test of stamina. It was a good-quality novice event Noon Star contested, but she proved a cut above her rivals. She moved smoothly into contention before pulling two-and-half lengths clear of Loving Dream, with a further six lengths back to Franklet in third.
She has made run-by-run progress and, given trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s famed patient approach, she is expected to carry on improving for a while yet. It’s little surprise that she is second favourite for the Oaks.
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