In different circumstances Palace Pier could have been running in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket rather than the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap at Newcastle – and the manner of his victory suggests John Gosden will not be waiting too long for a major success with him.
Unbeaten in two outings last season, the son of Kingman had been high up in the ante-post lists for the first Classic of the season, only to be ruled out a couple of weeks ago.
Gosden revealed a minor setback in the spring meant he had just missed some key work and that the Guineas would be too much of an ask first time out.
Instead he reappeared off a handicap mark of 98 and it is likely to be the last time his official rating is of any consequence given the turn of foot he showed as the 11-10 favourite.
Entering the final furlong he had two lengths to make up on Hugo Palmer’s Acquitted, himself winner of two of his three runs last season, but when Robert Havlin asked his mount a serious question the response was electric and he shot three and a quarter lengths clear.
Assistant trainer Thady Gosden said: “That was very pleasing as the second is obviously a good horse, they like him a lot.
“He was fairly asleep for most of the race, but when he got the hang of it he picked up really nicely.
“It was a nice turn of foot he showed. He works nicely at home without being flash.
“Hopefully he’ll improve for the run, that’s why he is here and not Newmarket, also he’s not really in the zone properly, hopefully that will have got him into the groove today.
“I’d imagine he’ll be going into stakes races now, we’ll see what the boss wants to do. Ascot does come very quick, it’s an unusual year obviously.”