Hugo Palmer: I’m really looking forward to getting him back on the track
Trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses the chances of his Saturday runners at Newcastle and Chester.
We’ve been favourite all along for this, but at the time of writing, I can see we’ve just been knocked off our perch.
Despite the fact he didn’t run that many times last year, he was on the go the whole season, and it’s not easy when you prepare a horse for a race and have to pull them out because conditions aren’t right, which we had to do on a few occasions last year.
He came back from the stud over Christmas looking absolutely great, then in January he managed to catch one of his teeth on his rug and managed to somehow injure his jaw. He carried on eating and seemed okay, but he developed a thick winter coat and lost a bit of weight, so we just took our time with him and haven’t rushed him back at all.
He goes very well fresh, so I don’t have any reservations about him running here on his seasonal reappearance. He’s top-rated in the race by quite some way, and Daz who rides him at home said he’s never felt better, so everything seems to be right for him, and I’m really looking forward to getting him back on the track.
He’s fared the better of our pair when it comes to the draw, as he’s got quite a nice bit of luck in stall four, which should suit him as he likes to go forward.
We were going to run him at Ascot, but he’s a horse who needs cut in the ground, and we just felt conditions would be too quick for him there.
We went to Nottingham at the start of the year thinking he’d really need the race, but much to our surprise he was able to win despite looking a bit big and still having his winter coat on. We’re really happy with him now, and although he has to carry top-weight, Connor Planas takes off a very useful 5lb.
It’s a shame Harry Davies can’t continue the partnership as they seem to get on really well, but Connor is a very talented lad, and he could hardly be in better form, so hopefully he can continue in that form on Saturday.
He ran really well at Ascot and he’s come out of the race really well, the only nagging doubt in the back of my mind is the 11-day turnaround. It was always the plan to go to Ascot and we thought we’d see how he was afterwards with regards to this, but he’s come out of that race so well that we thought we had to take our chance.
Charlotte, who rides him every day at home, actually said to me he’s never felt so good, so maybe that Ascot race has put him spot on. He’s drawn wide, but we’ve had horses run well in this before from wide draws, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too much of a disadvantage and it’s exciting to be going there with two live chances.
We were a bit disappointed by him last time when he finished fourth here. We knew our fate fairly early on as he wasn’t able to get out and dictate the way he likes to, so although he was prominent, we just never felt he got into that rhythm that he can do. The ground was a bit loose that day too, which I don’t think suited him, so hopefully with less need for watering this time, there’ll be a sounder surface.
He is somewhat up in grade here, but he’s again got a stroke of luck with the draw in stall one, so hopefully he can get away well and dominate from the front. His work continues to be good at home and he’s starting to look very well-handicapped on the pick of his form, so here’s hoping things fall right for him on Saturday and he can get his head back in front.
She ran well when fourth here from a wide draw last month and she’s fared much better with the draw this time round. It’s a rare appearance on our team-sheet for Franny Norton as he’s usually snapped up long before the entries come in at Chester, but we’ve managed to book him here and there’s no better man to have on your side round this course than him.
It’s a tricky race to get a handle on, as you don’t really know what to expect from the top horse Parlando. He’s a gelded son of Dubawi who’s been off the track for nearly 18 months, he has a wide draw and he has to give plenty of weight away to his younger rivals, so he could be anything.
O G Beachwear will need to improve a little bit, but I don’t see any reason why she won’t step forward from her first two runs, so you’d have to say she’d have a decent chance.
Her form from last year wouldn’t be far behind what O G Beachwear has achieved. Certainly, her debut effort isn’t working out too badly, so hopefully she can get back on track here.
She’s a gorgeous looking filly and we’ve done plenty with her at home, but she might just need this run. We haven’t managed to get her away for a racecourse gallop, which we’d usually do before a horse makes their seasonal debut, but as I say, she’s looking really well at the moment and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if she ran well.