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Hugo Palmer: You’d have to say we go there with a big chance

| 07.07.2023

Trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses the chances of his Saturday runners at Sandown, Haydock, Leicester, Nottingham and Carlisle, plus his view on the Coral-Eclipse.

3.00 Sandown – Stenton Glider

It’s lucky that I’m writing this at lunchtime as 45 minutes ago she was second-favourite, and with Breege now a non-runner, she’s been propelled to the head of the market.

She had a little cut on her leg after her run in the German Guineas last time which meant we had to miss Royal Ascot, but she ran a mighty race over in Germany from a terrible draw on ground that was extremely quick. She also ran a cracker in the Fred Darling, and while people questioned the form at the time, the winner Remarquee has since come out and finished second in a Group 1 at the Royal meeting, so that form isn’t looking too bad at all.

She’s drawn out in stall 10 which is slightly wider than we’d like to be, but there’s a nice long back straight at Sandown, so I don’t think it will be as much as a negative as the wide draw was at Dusseldorf last time. We’ve been really happy with her work at home, and she’s really starting to develop physically. She’s a very tall filly, and I do think she still has some growing to do, so I’ve always felt we wouldn’t see the best of her until we see her as a four-year-old.

It’s an open race with plenty of improving fillies in there, but you’d have to say we go there with a big chance.

3.15 Haydock – Nolton Cross

He ran well at Ayr last time when finishing third, and I’d say if we had our time again we might not have asked him for his effort so early. He got there, but he was there a while and he just didn’t quite last home which was disappointing.

He’s drawn in stall 17, so I think Neil Callan will have little choice but to be a bit more patient with him, but I think there’ll be plenty of pace on up front, and hopefully the race will pan out exactly as we want it to.

3.50 Haydock – Tierney

She ran really well in the Lily Agnes on her debut, and she didn’t run all that bad in Listed company the next time. She was disappointing back in a maiden at Nottingham last time, but I’ll be asking Harry Davies to slot her in and ride her a bit more like Oisin rode her at Chester on her debut. She starts life in nurseries off an opening mark of 70, and hopefully she can resume some of that progress she showed on her first few starts.

4.07 Leicester – Nakano

Nakano hit every single ridge at Ripon last time and just hated it, so we are hoping we get a bit of rain here for her. The forecast suggests Leicester will get plenty of rain, but you just never know with the weather, so we’ll just keep an eye on that.

I do think her chance hinges on the conditions as she hits the ground very hard, so just needs to get her toe in, but if she does then I think it’s a race she can run very well in.

5.50 Leicester – Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls goes on testing ground and quick ground, so she won’t be too fazed with whatever happens with the forecast. She’s consistent, but as a result she’s not particularly well handicapped.

She’s been running well off this mark, so it’s not to say she can’t win off it, but when you continually run well, you aren’t going to get any respite from the handicapper. She tries her heart out, so I’m sure she’s going to win on turf eventually, and hopefully everything drops right for her this weekend.

7.12 Nottingham – Ertebat

We were hoping Ertebat would go close last time at Thirsk, so we were really disappointed with him that day.

He’s a bit of a thinker, and I don’t think we’ve managed to get the best out of him so far, but he’s another that would appreciate a bit of rain if it does arrive.

He’s in the horses in training sale next week, so this is probably his last run for us, but hopefully back in trip and with the visor on for the first time we can see a better showing from him.

7.42 Nottingham – Order Of Malta

It’s a very small field, but he’s drawn on the rail so hopefully that will be advantageous to us. After a pleasing start, he’s slightly disappointed us, so we’ve gelded him, and hopefully that will have the desired effect on him.

He’s another that wouldn’t want proper quick ground, but hopefully Callum Shepherd can get him into a good rhythm, and he can resume some of that early progress.

7.52 Carlisle – Al Motasim

It’s frustrating that he’s still a maiden as he’s run some good races in defeat, but he has also run some bad races in defeat. The key to him is keeping him cool and calm going down to post as he got very wound up going down to post at Goodwood when he ran disappointingly a few starts ago.

He was much better at Newbury last time, and I think the stiff track at Carlisle will suit him, so providing we can keep a lid on him, then I think he’ll run a big race.

Coral-Eclipse thoughts

I know it’s a disappointing turnout in terms of numbers, but some of the best Coral-Eclipses I can remember have been small fields, and I think this actually makes it more interesting than it being filled with a load of Listed horses trying to cloud the issue.

It’s a fascinating match between Emily Upjohn and Paddington, and it’s great when you see two top-class horses take each other on like this.

I’ve always sided with the three-year-olds in this, and particularly with a horse like Paddington who looks to be improving rapidly. I don’t think many of us had heard of him before he won the Irish Guineas, but he’s just kept improving, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on against his elders.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they decided to make the running with Emily Upjohn. She has raced keenly in the past, and sometimes horses can just drop it when they are in front. Sandown is a good track for making the running, and they won’t want it to turn into a sprint, so if there’s no pace on then I think they might just go forward.

Tactically it’s a tricky puzzle to solve, but I do think the market has it right, and if I had to choose one, I’d have to go with Aidan’s horse.


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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.