Hugo Palmer: It looks well worth giving it a go


Top trainer and Coral ambassador Hugo Palmer discusses his four runners all in the same race at Doncaster on Thursday.

Doncaster 2.25

Ballon D’or

He very much shaped over 6f like 7f would be well within his compass, but it did appear he didn’t quite stay in the nursery at York last time, and James Doyle got off him and said this extended 6f would suit him perfectly, so it makes perfect sense to bring him here. He’s very closely matched with our other runner Soldier’s Gold on their running at York, but Ballon D’or is worse off at the weights here, so he might find it difficult to reverse that form.

I think he’ll handle the ease in the ground, and he’s one of the most experienced horses in the field, so hopefully he can put that experience to good use. He does have a fair bit to find at the weights with the principles, but you get more for finishing 10th in this than winning most nurseries, so with over 50 per cent of the field taking home some prize money, it looks well worth giving it a go.

Grey Cuban

I don’t think I’d say he disappointed me at all last time at York as we’ve known for a long time that 7f is what he needs, so the slight step up in trip here will be very much in his favour. Again, he’ll win more in prize money finishing 10th here than winning the 7f maiden we were going to run him in at Chester, so having paid the money to be in these races, it’s worthwhile having a go.

He’s drawn in stall 11, and Ballon D’or is right next to him in 10, but I don’t think it’s any major advantage or disadvantage to be In the middle of the track as I suspect they’ll all stay together anyway rather than divide into a few groups.

I do think he’s going to be a nice progressive handicapper for next year, and I’m sure he’ll get a mile in time too, but there’s no need to rush him and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran well here.

Soldier’s Gold

I suppose being the highest rated of ours, being proven on the ground, and getting a 4lb pull in the weights for being out of a stallion with a lower median, you’d have to say mathematically he has the best chance of our runners. I noticed he’s the shortest of ours in the betting too, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest he’s our best chance in the race.

It is a very competitive race as you’d expect for the money on offer, and it’s not difficult to see why Johannes Brahms is up near the head of the market. Finishing runner-up in the Gimcrack is very good form, but this will be very different ground he’ll encounter here, and although Siyouni’s offspring seem to handle cut in the ground, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he wasn’t as effective on it.

I think the extended 6f will be absolutely perfect for Soldier’s Gold, and we know he’ll handle the ground, so I’m really looking forward to running him. I know we have a bit to find on figures with Aidan’s horse who’s rated 106, but we are rated 93 and in receipt of 4lb, so with 9lb to find, that’s only about three lengths over this sort of trip, so stranger things have happened.

Watcha Matey

We were delighted when Watcha Matey finally got off the mark at Newmarket last time as he’d run some really good races in defeat, so it was great to finally see him get his head in front.

This will obviously be a much sterner test and he’ll have to take a big step forward to be involved at the business end, but he does get a bit of a pull in the weights for being by a cheaper stallion, and he’s very tough and versatile with regards to the ground, so hopefully he can pick up some prize money for us.

It’s always difficult to give a jockey instructions when you have four in the same race, so I suspect I’ll just advise them not to get in each other’s way!


View the latest horse racing odds

Latest Articles