Hugo Palmer: He seems a much happier horse at home now
Trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses the chances of his Saturday runners at Ascot, Newcastle, Newmarket and Windsor, as well as giving his King George thoughts.
He’s Got Game is a lovely horse and he’s been working with some nice horses at home, but we’ve been very happy with his work. The testing ground is a bit of an unknown for him, so we’ll just have to see about that, but I’m looking forward to getting him started. Ours don’t often win first time out, but I’m hoping he can go with plenty of encouragement.
The horse I fear most is Charlie Hills’ horse Kodiac Thriller, but that’s mainly because I bred him! I don’t like to finish second, but if we have to finish second here, then I hope he’s the one that beats us.
She’s a filly who excited us a lot at the start of the year, but she just lost her way a bit after that when we tried her on turf. She did a good deal better back on the all-weather at Kempton last time, but she still only managed sixth, so not exactly where we want her.
She didn’t look to do anything in a hurry last time, so we’ve stepped her up in trip and fitted a pair of cheekpieces, so hopefully those two things can work the oracle. The draw hasn’t been too kind to us, and although it’s a long way round at Newcastle, you wouldn’t pick 11 of 11 for her.
It’s an apprentice race and we have one of the most experienced apprentices around in Pierre-Louis Jamin on board, so hopefully he can get her into a good position, and everything can fall right for her.
He took a decent step forward to win at Nottingham last time despite a less than ideal start and that seems to have done his confidence the world of good, as he seems a much happier horse at home now with that win under his belt.
Callum Shepherd seems to get on well with him, so it’s great we have him on board once again, and while he’ll need to step forward again for his handicap debut, I’m extremely hopeful that he’ll do just that.
Power Of Gold has always been a horse I’ve thought the world of, but if truth be known he’s disappointed me a little to date. He was fourth at Ayr last time, but I think the ground was a little bit soft for him there, so we are just giving him another go on the all-weather to take that ground factor out of the equation.
We always thought he’d end up being a stayer, but a mile and a quarter seemed to be too far for him when we tried him at the trip earlier in the year. He’s still lightly raced, so hopefully he’ll still have some more improvement to come, and I’m hoping the combination of the stiff mile and the all-weather track will be the perfect combination.
Nakano is another horse who has promised more at home than she’s managed to deliver on the track. She’s by a son of Deep Impact out of a Montjeu mare, so she ought to be staying this trip well, and she moves like soft ground might be an advantage for her, so maybe that’s been the problem so far with her.
She’s down to a mark of 67 now, so I’m just hoping the combination of the step up in trip and the more testing ground can finally see her get her head in front.
The Coral-Eclipse was a great race despite the small field, but you’d have to say this looks like the race of the season so far. There aren’t enough good horses around for every race to be this competitive sadly, but what a treat that we get to see all these wonderful horses take each other on.
My suspicion is that the three-year-olds aren’t that good, and I think they could well come up short in this. Although Paddington doesn’t run here, he’s one of the best of them, and he only just managed to beat Emily Upjohn in the Eclipse over a trip that probably didn’t see her to best effect.
Hukum looks like he’ll have his conditions, so it’s unlikely he’ll be far away, and I’d have enormous respect for Pyledriver too, I’d just be slightly worried whether the ground might be softer than ideal for him.
It’s such a fascinating race, and it’s really difficult to pick the winner, but if I had to choose one, I think I’d side with Emily Upjohn. I do like Pyledriver a lot, but I just have a feeling that this is Emily Upjohn’s race, and I think she’ll relish the step back up to a mile and a half.