Palace Pier’s crowning moment in St James’s Palace Stakes a tribute to late Duke

Unbeaten three-year-old PALACE PIER (GB) landed his first top-flight success on Saturday when claiming the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes in what was a poignant victory for his co-breeders, Highclere Stud and Floors Farming.

The latter, located just outside Kelso in the Scottish borders, is the breeding operation of the late Duke of Roxburghe, who died in August 2019.

The John Gosden-trained three-year-old son of KINGMAN (GB), who stands at Banstead Manor Stud for a fee of £150,000 in 2020, saw off rivals WICHITA and champion two-year-old PINATUBO in the closing strides under the unstoppable Frankie Dettori. The victory was particularly impressive given that the colt was stepping into pattern company for the first time.

Palace Pier carries the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who purchased his latest flag-bearer for 600,000 guineas at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1 in 2018. This prestigious sale was also represented in the winner’s enclosure on the closing day of Royal Ascot 2020 by Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes victor CAMPANELLE.

Palace Pier’s next target will be the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, a race that his sire also won for Gosden in 2014.

Palace Pier is the third foal out of the Highclere mare BEACH FROLIC (GB), who has Book 1-bound yearling colt by HIGHLAND REEL and is in foal to BLUE POINT.

Reflecting on their partnership with Floors Farming, Highclere’s John Warren told GBRI:

“I bought Beach Frolic’s granddam Miss D’Ouilly thirty years ago and the Duke of Roxburghe owned a third of her. When I bought her, he asked me if he could take a piece, so he was involved all the way through, even though she’s lived with us.

“It’s a great shame that the Duke of Roxburghe is not alive to be able to enjoy it. That’s the only sadness of the day.”

Noting what a win at the Royal meeting means for the operation, Warren continued:

“It’s so lovely to think that we’re producing horses of that calibre when we are commercial breeders. It’s a great thrill for the whole team at Highclere because we’ve got a tremendous, committed team and it’s a big family affair.

“Carolyn is very much involved with the horses’ welfare and development, and Jake and I on the matings and the mare-stallion strategy.

“It’s what we all strive to do and it’s great when all the effort that you put into it pays off.”

Warren further commented:

“The family is very straightforward.

“When Palace Pier won last time, it sounded as if the betting market was hoping the horse would go for an English Derby on the back of it. I was rather anxious that the family don’t normally stay a mile and a half. It’s a top-class miler so he (John Gosden) has trained it brilliantly to exploit the distance.”