Hugo Palmer: Everything is pointing towards a big run
Top trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses his runners at Ascot, Thirsk, Haydock, Kempton and Wolverhampton on Saturday.
He’s Got Game definitely ran much better on his second start, and even though he was only sixth, I did feel he stepped forward from his debut effort. He shaped as if he was ready for this step up to 7f, and I suspect he’ll want even further in time, but a good stiff test at this trip should suit him just fine for now.
He’s a big rangy horse, and I still think he has plenty of strengthening up to do, so if I’m honest I think he’ll struggle to run to the level required to get seriously competitive in this. There looks a couple of nice types in here, so you’d probably say you’d have to run to a mark in the mid 80’s to win this, and we are probably looking for a mark in the mid 60’s based on what he’s shown so far.
His owners live in America, so Ascot is quite convenient for them being so close to Heathrow, so hopefully he can run a nice race for them, but I definitely see him as one for handicaps further down the line.
We had high hopes for him last time at Goodwood, but he just decided to miss the break which was quite frustrating. He absolutely flew home though leaving us all with a feeling of what might have been. I don’t know why he was so slowly away, maybe it was the blinkers, but you’d have to say if he’d have got a better start, he’d have been bang up there.
We have a much better draw tomorrow, but as is always the way with a good draw you have to get away well and take it. If he’s slowly away again then he will end up with the whole field on top of him which will make life very difficult for us.
Johnny Peate is a young rider who I don’t think I’ve used before, but he seems to be riding very well and looks good value for his 3lb claim, so I’d certainly say that’s another positive. He’s shaped as if the mile will be well within his compass, so everything is pointing towards a big run, and I’m extremely hopeful he’ll go very close indeed.
We were disappointed with him at Ascot last time, but he’d been running consistently well with plenty of time between his runs, and maybe we just turned him out again too quickly. I think he’s appreciated the four-week break since the Shergar Cup, and he’s looking very well at home so I’m very happy with him.
He’s got a good bit of luck with the draw, and I think the decent ground at Haydock tomorrow will suit him. The only slight question mark I have is the trip. He’s yet to conclusively prove that he stays this trip, but he has suggested on several occasions that he will, so hopefully things will fall right for him tomorrow.
He’s been dropped a further 2lb for that run at Ascot, so he’s slipped to a mark we know he can be pretty competitive off, so hopefully he can run a big race this weekend.
I think we have to put a line through Newmarket last time as he hasn’t run anywhere near as well as he had done on any of his previous three starts. Andrea Atzeni said that he knew the writing was on the wall going to post as even though it was raining, it was very quick underneath, and he just wasn’t handling it. Andrea also got stuck between whether to go left or right and which pack to join, and we got stuck in the middle with the race happening around us, but we didn’t really take part.
This is his first start on the all-weather, but he likes soft ground, and although Kempton is going to be pretty tricky stuff at the moment, I’m hoping it’s going to suit him. Kempton is always on the slow side of standard, and they’ve added a thousand tonnes of new surface to it, so they’ve put out a warning to say it will ride slower than usual for the time being.
We are chancing our arm a little bit with Golden Trick, but he’s come out of that Newmarket race really well, and there aren’t that many options for him. We very much think he’s a two-year-old, and you win nothing standing in your box, so we are just hoping he handles the conditions much better than the other horses.
I wouldn’t have minded a slightly lower draw as I think it will be difficult to make up ground, but stall six is by no means the end of the world, and I’ve tried to win this race many times, so hopefully our luck can change on Saturday. It looks like it will take a mid-90’s performance to win it, and I’ve always felt he was a mid-90’s horse, so he hopefully he’ll be bang in contention.
She ran a really good race at Goodwood last time when going right-handed for the first time, but I did feel she was much happier going left-handed at Chester. We did debate whether to run her or not at Goodwood as we were concerned the ground might be a bit slow for her, and I do think she could have done with a slightly quicker surface, but it looks like that’s what she’ll get at Haydock this weekend.
The draw could have been a kinder to us, but she has a very good rider on board in Tom Marquand, so hopefully he can slot her into a decent position. She probably doesn’t want to make the running, so hopefully we can take a lead and Tom can deliver her at the right time. She’s been in very good form at home, and she is still lightly raced, so I think she’s still firmly on the upgrade, and I hope she can show that on Saturday.
She’s a filly I’ve always liked, and she’s definitely due a win. She doesn’t handle the turf that well, but she loves the all-weather, so Wolverhampton should suit her fine, and she’s been in really good form at home of late.
I’m presuming she’ll be one of the favourites as her form certainly entitles her to be, and Taylor Fisher is another young rider who’s very good value for his 3lb claim. Taylor has actually been coming in and riding out for us of late which is very good of him, so I’m hoping we can reward him by putting him on a winner.
She looked like she didn’t quite have the change of gear at Southwell last time, so hopefully the extra furlong here will suit, and being a daughter of Golden Horn, you’d hope stamina wouldn’t be an issue for her.