Hugo Palmer: I think he has a very obvious chance
Top trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses his four runners at Chester on Saturday plus the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2023.
Prince Of Zenda knocked himself on his latest start at Sandown, and it’s taken quite a bit of time to get him back to be honest. I’m delighted that he seems to be over that now, and I’m looking forward to getting him back on the track.
Other than that last run when he hurt himself, he hasn’t really run a bad race yet in his short career, so although he’s still a maiden, I’m hoping his consistency will finally be rewarded tomorrow. He only has a small field to contend with, he should get the cut in the ground that I think he needs, and I think the trip will suit him perfectly, so I think he has a very obvious chance. Andrew Balding’s filly looks to be the main danger, but hopefully our horse can put his experience to good use and run another nice race.
Roman Dragon tries 5f for the first time, and although the rain-softened ground will suit him, I don’t think we are under any illusions how difficult it is going to be for him. We are being realistic about his chances, particularly from a wide draw, but having said that, I’d rather be in stall eight than stall one as I just don’t think he’d be sharp enough to make the most of it, and when there is cut in the ground at Chester it can get very chewed up on the rail.
We know how much he enjoys the track, and he is looking a million dollars at home, so he might surprise us. The races do often fall apart at Chester when the ground is on the softer side, so it’s not out of the question that the pace could collapse up front and we could be there to pick up the pieces, but we are very clear with the challenges that we face here over this trip.
This will be the softest ground that Reel Rosie will have encountered in her career, so we’ll just have to see how she gets on. Her father won on heavy ground, so there is some hope from her pedigree that she might be able to handle it. She didn’t appear to stay the trip at Yarmouth last time, so we are bringing her back to 1m 2f here, and hopefully we’ll see a much better showing from her.
She’s never run at Chester before, but she’s not a slow filly, so I’m hoping it will suit her. Although it is only a small field, it does look a competitive little race, so we’ll just have to see how she gets on, but the ground would definitely be my main concern, but until you try them on it you just don’t know.
He’s A Gentleman has been so consistent of late, and he’s switched ownership now and is having his first start for the Michael Owen Racing Club. Apart from extremes either way, I think he’s pretty versatile with regards to ground, and I don’t think we’ll see any extreme ground at Chester tomorrow, so conditions should be absolutely fine for him. It is the last race of the day though, so it will be pretty chewed up by then, so I wouldn’t have picked stall one for him, but there’s nothing we can do about that.
I think this in-between trip will be absolutely perfect for him, and I definitely think he can win races off a mark of 71, but a little bit like Victoria Falls who ran so well at Newmarket the other day for us, he is a little bit of a victim of his own consistency.
You never quite know what the ground is going to be like in France as they aren’t as accurate with their going descriptions as we are here, and anything between good and firm is pretty much recorded the same, but it does appear they’ll be running on quick ground on Sunday. I don’t think that will suit the French horses all that much, and I don’t think it will be ideal for Hukum either. I’d have great respect for Hukum on the form of his win in the King George, but the combination of the quick ground and stall 14 would be enough to make me look elsewhere.
I think on the forecast quicker ground I’d have to side with Westover for Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby. He’s been wonderfully consistent this year, and he was an excellent second behind Hukum in the aforementioned King George, so I do think he can reverse the form with that rival If the ground is on the quicker side, and I’d make him the one they all have to beat.