Palace Pier narrowly denied Poetic Flare to to claim back-to-back victories in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville. Defeated only once in nine previous career starts, Palace Pier was favorite to make it four from four for the season under Frankie Dettori, having missed last month’s Sussex Stakes at Goodwood following unsatisfactory blood test results.

Always travelling strongly, John and Thady Gosden’s stable star moved smoothly into contention on the outside of the field, with Jim Bolger’s 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes hero Poetic Flare delivering his challenge close to the stands’ rail.

In receipt of 6lb from his older rival, Sussex Stakes runner-up Poetic Flare did his best to claw back Palace Pier inside the last half-furlong, but Dettori’s mount was always doing enough to hold him at bay.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Order Of Australia finished third to make it a clean sweep for the visiting party.

Prix Jacques le Marois

“However, if you bypass the Prix Jacques Le Marois, you’ve missed the race of the year. Of course, coming back here was the long-term aim. All things being equal, I ran a horse that was 80 per cent fit.

“He had the class and the jockey too. You could see that he was starting to tire towards the end, due to the fact that he had been held up in his work because of his illness.

“It was a super edition of the race and the second is an iron horse.

“I would have liked to have had him 100 per cent as last year. However, he ran a blinder and his trademark acceleration came to the fore.”

Paddy Power cut Palace Pier to 7-4 from 2-1 for Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, a race in which he finished third last term.

Gosden confirmed his charge will head straight for Champions Day in October, but raised the Qipco Champion Stakes as a potential alternative to the QEII.

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