Hugo Palmer: We go there on Saturday with four live chances
Trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses the chances of his four runners at Chester on Saturday.
I’m delighted to be writing my first blog for Coral, and I look forward to giving you my thoughts and insight throughout the summer.
We’re delighted to welcome Coral as the principal sponsor at Manor House, I’m sure it will be a long and successful partnership, and I’m sure we’ll also have plenty of fun along the way!
I’m also delighted to be training for the Coral Racing Club, you’ll hear plenty more about this son of Ardad, but at this early stage he’s pleasing us, and I look forward to seeing what name members come up with for him.
We’ve generally been pleased with how the horses have been running in recent weeks, and although we certainly wouldn’t have minded a few more winners, the horses are fit and healthy, and I’m sure their turn will come.
We know this game is about winners, but we’ve just been hitting the crossbar of late, and although I don’t have a cat, he’d be running for cover now if I did!
Because of where we’re based in Cheshire, it’s of course important to have runners at Chester, and I’m delighted that we go there on Saturday with four live chances.
It was a tie between us and Andrew Balding last season to be top trainer there, so it would be great if we could win that outright this year.
Obviously, you need a lot of luck with the draw when you have runners there, and we seem to have had that with the majority of our runners this weekend, so I’m really looking forward to Saturday now.
It’s a fantastic course Chester, and I’d urge anybody who hasn’t visited to enjoy a day out there. It’s one of the few tracks in the country which is right in the heart of the city, and it’s great to see the crowds pour into the local restaurants and bars after the racing is finished – it’s a great place for owners to celebrate a winner!
He made a pleasing start when fourth in what looked a good maiden at York during the Dante meeting. You’re never quite sure how strong these races are until after Royal Ascot, but I suspect the winner (Cuban Thunder) will go to the Royal meeting with a live chance, and Oisin Murphy was full of praise for our horse after the race.
James Doyle takes the ride, we have a nice draw in stall three and I’m sure he’ll have learnt plenty from the experience at York, so I’m very hopeful of a bold showing from him.
He actually ran quite well for a while here at the May meeting on ground he would have hated.
He always showed great speed out of the gate last year, and he has a liking for a tight track, so we took him out to Bahrain as we thought that would really suit him. Bizarrely, he missed the kick on each of his three starts there and struggled to get involved. Typically, when we brought him back to Chester last time, he came out the gate like his tail was on fire!
He’s been really pleasing us with his work at home since, and although he’s drawn fairly wide in stall nine, he’s run well before here from similarly wide draws, so I don’t see that being too much of a hinderance for him, and I think he’ll run a big race.
He did really well on the all-weather last year, then again ran well when second on his reappearance at Wolverhampton last month. I thought he’d need it that day, and I think that’s what just cost him in the end.
We always felt he’d want further than seven furlongs, so we stepped him up to a mile at Doncaster last time, and I think the combination of the straight track and the quick ground didn’t really suit him, if I’m honest.
Chester ground is never too quick, so I’m hoping that, coupled with being back on a turning track, will see him return to his best form.
He has a nice draw, and although it looks a hot race, it’s a Class 2 in which the highest-rated horse only has a mark of 90, so fingers crossed he can prove he’s as effective on turf as he is on the all-weather.
Roman Dragon has won three times round Chester, so he clearly likes the place. He’s had some rotten luck with bad draws in the past as well, so I’m delighted to see he’s drawn in stall two on Saturday.
He just doesn’t quite stay seven furlongs, but he ran a nice race at Haydock last time when he just didn’t quite get home – Frankie Dettori rode him that day and he was very happy with him.
The ambition of the owner is for him to be the winning most horse of all time at Chester, and I think he’s halfway there, so it would be great if we could get another victory with him on Saturday afternoon.