Hugo Palmer: I’m really looking forward to trying Hackman over 6f
Top trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses his five runners at York on Thursday.
Even though this will be tricky carrying the penalty, I’m really looking forward to trying Hackman over 6f. We did always think he was out-and-out speed, but Tom Marquand just felt he was always going flat out in the Molecomb last time, so we thought with a lot of money on offer this was worth giving a go. Plenty of Mehmas’ do stay 6f, and I’m sure he’ll travel well through the race, but I suppose at some stage during the race Oisin is going to push the button and find out if we are going to stay.
His win at Chester came on soft ground, and there’s a chance there might be some rain at York which wouldn’t be a bad thing. He’s come out of Goodwood in really good order, and he’s pleased us at home recently, so hopefully he can run a big race.
He’s a very different proposition to Hackman in that we know he’ll certainly want further than 6f in time. He’s been unlucky not to win either of his first two starts so far, but he’s just been hitting a flat spot when the pace lifts then staying on close home. Angel Of England, who beat us at Nottingham last time, carries a penalty for that win and we are unpenalized, so you’d think we’d have a fair chance of reversing that form having been only beaten half a length that day.
He’ll have learnt plenty from his first two starts, and I think the big field and strong pace will really suit him, so as competitive a race as it is, I think we go there with a decent chance.
I’ve been very happy with Master Franca of late, and he was just swishing his tail a bit on his first few starts. He’s been gelded which I think will be a big help to him as he had a slightly abnormal condition in that area and let’s just say we’d be swishing our tails and not wanting to run fast if we were in the same boat as him. Usually, the gelding operations are done stood in the box, but he went to hospital for his, but he’s come out of it absolutely perfect, and he seems much happier in himself.
He is the outsider of the field, and on all known form you’d say he’s got lots of improvement to find, but he just seems a much happier horse now and I’d say he definitely should step forward. He will need to improve 15-20lb to win this though, so that might be a big ask, but I don’t see any reason why he can’t run a good race.
He wasn’t beaten that far in the Vintage Stakes in a race where they went very slowly. It’s utterly absurd that he’s been raised 3lb for that run, and they’ve taken the view that every single horse in the race had run a career best. The winner was quite exposed on 102, and he’s beaten horses rated in the mid 90s, so I don’t really know how he’s been put up to 105, and as a result we’ve all been raised with him.
Soldier’s Gold is in really good nick at home, and Richard Kingscote rides again, so I’m sure he’ll give his running once more, but it’s going to be a tall order under top weight I’d say.
Balon D’or is also near the top of the weights, but they are there because they are good horses and they’ve shown the best form so far. He didn’t disgrace himself at Goodwood last time on his first go at 7f, and he’s been dropped 2lb for that which will certainly help. We were quite prominent that day, so I suspect we’ll ride him with more patience here in order to make sure we stay the 7f which I think will give him a much better chance than he had at Goodwood.