Hugo Palmer blog: 'I couldn't back him with stolen money'

Hugo Palmer, Coral blog, horse racing

Hugo Palmer is back with an exclusive Coral blog, previewing his runners at Epsom, Musselburgh and Lingfield, as well as giving his thoughts on the Derby.

Hugo Palmer blog

1:25 Epsom – Grey Cuban

I was a little bit disappointed with Grey Cuban at Chester last time, and he just got held up in the middle of the pack and looked to lack a bit of speed. William Buick got off him and was adamant that a mile and a quarter is what he wants, and he certainly won over the extended mile at Wolverhampton two starts ago like that would be the case, so that’s what we’re trying here.

It’s a valuable pot, and a competitive race as you’d expect, but if Grey Cuban can show the gate speed he showed at Wolverhampton and get into a good position early, then I think he goes there with a reasonable each-way chance.

Grey Cuban odds: 12/1

2:15 Musselburgh – He’s A Gentleman

I didn’t think He’s A Gentleman ran a bad race at Newmarket last time as they all finished in a beat of a heap, and he was an excellent second at Chester the time before that. He will need to come back to that Chester form coming back in trip here, and although a lot of his form has come over further on the all-weather, I think 7f on turf is absolutely fine for him.

Hopefully there’ll be a strong pace for him to aim at because he seems in really good nick at home, so providing the race is run to suit, then I definitely think he’s capable of a big run.

He's A Gentleman odds

2:50 Musselburgh – Far Above Mary

She’s a very consistent filly Far Above Mary, but she’s not really improving, and she goes in the seller at Musselburgh. It’s not the strongest £20,000 race you’re ever going to see, and although the top horse Up The Clarets did win on his debut, 11lb is a fair chunk of weight he’s got to give away to those of us who haven’t won a race.

A stiff 5f round Musselburgh does take some getting, so I think that will suit her, and ground on the slow side of good should be fine, so hopefully she can get a decent chunk of that prize money.

Far Above Mary odds

Hugo Palmer, Coral blog, horse racing

3:25 Musselburgh – Stenton Glider

Stenton Glider has been the bridesmaid far too many times now, and she really ought to win one of these. She has done a lot of her running over a mile, and of course she did place in the German Guineas, but I think she’s getting faster as she gets older, so I have no qualms about her over 7f here. 

Jabaara of Roger Varian’s looks the obvious danger, but taking into account that the horse that beat her last time was rated 90, and the one just behind was 89, she’s going to have to take a decent step forward to beat us, and I’d say we go there with a solid favourites chance.

Stenton Glider odds

4:00 Musselburgh – Watcha Matey

I’m really happy with Watcha Matey at the moment, and he really has been in great shape at home of late. We were waiting for the Silver Bowl at Haydock with him, but a combination of a disastrous watering policy and some wet weather meant that it was bottomless ground, and we found out last year that is not what he wants. 

The plan now is to run in the Brittania at Royal Ascot, but he is going to have to win this if he’s going to get in that. I think the extra furlong here will suit him based on how he ran at Newmarket last time, but you never quite know until you try it. If he does handle it, then I think he has a very obvious chance.

Watcha Matey odds

5:15 Epsom – L’Astronome

I’d say it’s extremely likely L’Astronome will be a non-runner at Epsom on Saturday. We declared him yesterday on soft ground, and it all hinged on how much rain there was yesterday and today, and there hasn’t been very much up to now, so I’d say unless there’s a sudden deluge, then L’Astronome will be staying at home this weekend.

L’Astronome odds: 25/1

5:50 Epsom – Flaming Rib

He’s a hard horse to gauge these days Flaming Rib, because being a gelding, he’s sort of lost that coltish enthusiasm that he had, but Oisin Murphy was very happy with at Lingfield the last day. He had a bad draw there, and didn’t really get the run of the race, but he wasn’t beaten far, so he clearly retains plenty of ability. 

The plan is the Wokingham at Royal Ascot for him, but we really need to get a run into him before that, so hopefully he’ll run well here, and all roads can lead to Ascot.

Flaming Rib odds: 14/1

Hugo Palmer, Coral blog, horse racing

7:45 Lingfield – The Bitter Moose

I’m surprised to see The Bitter Moose as the outsider of the field on the betting forecast as I don’t think he’s performed too badly at all on his two starts this year.

I think the step up to a mile around Lingfield will suit him providing he settles, and I’ve been thinking all year that he’s a winner in waiting, so hopefully he can get his head in front on Saturday evening.

The Bitter Moose odds

Derby thoughts

It’s a fascinating race the Derby this year, but there are a whole heap of no-hopers in it, so I do hope they don’t get in the way of the horses that have a genuine chance of winning. 

I’m fascinated by the fact that City Of Troy is at the head of the betting as I sit here, because if I’m brutally honest, I couldn’t back him with stolen money in this race. He was champion two-year-old, and it was interesting to hear Willie Carson suggest he was too small to win a Derby, but small balanced horses do act well around Epsom.

For me, the main issue would be whether Ryan (Moore) can get him to settle. He almost overraced in his races as a two-year-old, and he’s now got to try and settle and stay a mile and a half around Epsom from a tricky draw, so taking into account his abysmal run in the Guineas, I’d find it very hard to be at all confident about him.

I doubt there’s been enough rain for either Los Angeles or Ancient Wisdom, so that sort of leaves me with James Fanshawe’s horse Ambiente Friendly. I think he’s the most likely winner, and you could hardly have been more impressed with his win in the trial race at Lingfield last time.

Of the one at bigger prices, it wouldn’t be a huge shock to me if Macduff ran a big race. I think the ground will be quicker than what he encountered at Sandown last time which should suit, and I think there’s every chance that he’ll take a step forward with that outing under his belt.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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