By Simon Jackson at Royal Ascot.
Galileo Gold’s immediate target is the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, trainer Hugo Palmer revealed after his stable star’s commanding victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
The son of Paco Boy proved superior to his six rivals under a confident ride from Frankie Dettori to score by one and a quarter lengths from French 2000 Guineas winner The Gurkha with Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad a further half a length back in third place.
Galileo Gold had landed the Qipco 2000 Guineas before finishing second to Awtaad in Ireland; but at Ascot on Tuesday he comfortably overturned the Irish result and Palmer believes his charge is now the best of his age.
“It was a tough challenge but Galileo Gold is the 2000 Guineas winner and the Newmarket Guineas is the best Group 1 of the year,” Palmer said.
“When the ratings come out at the end of the year, it is the best Group 1 and we had to hold that up, having been beaten in Ireland. Life did not go well in Ireland but it went much better today and he got the most magnificent ride from the widest draw. He has done it and I think it is fair to say he has proved himself to be the best three-year-old colt in Europe.
“It was hugely thrilling and a great race. It was the battle of three Guineas winners. It is funny because it is very soft ground today but it seems that pretty well the best horse has won every race. We haven’t yet had a surprise.
“No one knows their way around here better than Frankie Dettori and it’s one of the great treats of the horse being owned by Sheikh Joaan that I am able to call upon Frankie [Sheikh’s retained jockey] to ride this colt. It takes a lot of the variables out.
“He [Galileo Gold] is so quick out of the stalls that we followed Godolphin’s pacemaker and the rest were behind us all the way. I thought the two pacemakers would go forward, that Awtaad and The Gurkha would get boxed in, and while their jockeys were too cute for that, they were a long way out of their ground, while Galileo Gold was able to sit on the pace.
“He has five-furlong speed, and everyone could see today why he didn’t run in the Derby, because Frankie was restraining him at champion-mile pace behind the leader. That would have gone all wrong at Epsom.
“If the horse had been beaten today and Frankie had come in and said ‘Let’s go a mile and a quarter’, the Eclipse might have been a consideration, but they have to come and beat us in the [Qatar] Sussex Stakes. Since his owner sponsors the race I would think we will go there next.”
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