Hugo Palmer: I'm relishing the opportunity for an Ascot rematch with Awtaad

Galileo Gold enjoyed a light canter this morning and looks to be in good shape following the Irish 2,000 Guineas
Galileo Gold enjoyed a light canter this morning and looks to be in good shape following the Irish 2,000 Guineas

Hugo Palmer returns with an update on Galileo Gold following his second place in the Irish Guineas and our man is already looking forward to a potential rematch with Curragh winner Awtaad at Royal Ascot next month...

"He had a gentle canter this morning and all the signs are that he has taken the race really well, so hopefully all roads now lead to the St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and that promises to be some race with the winners of the English, Irish and French Guineas locking horns."

Whenever you have a Guineas winner who starts at 5/4 for a Classic, and gets beaten, then of course you are going to be disappointed. But we genuinely lost little in defeat with Galileo Gold's second at the Curragh on Saturday, and I was very proud of the horse.

What it underlined to me is what a fantastic attitude the horse has. It wasn't a gap that he went through on the rail to get past Air Vice Marshall, it was more a chink of light, and he really stuck his neck out and battled on ground that he didn't like.

I feared the worst when I spoke to Jessica Harrington at lunch. She had a runner in one of the earlier races and she said to me that "I hope your horse handles heavy ground." I was sick with nerves anyway so that is the last thing I wanted to hear!

They called it yielding to soft, but it was probably more like soft to heavy as we would know it over here, and the winner, Awtaad, had already proven himself on that ground. And he did look special on Saturday. It'd be a rare horse who is better on better ground, having shown himself to be so effective in testing conditions, though he could well be, of course.

My horse stuck to his guns, and in the last furlong-and-a-half he put 4¼ lengths between himself and the highly-touted Blue De Vega in third.

He had a gentle canter this morning and all the signs are that he has taken the race really well, so hopefully all roads now lead to the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and that promises to be some race with the winners of the English, Irish and French Guineas locking horns.

To be perfectly honest, I would prefer it if they weren't going and we were a 1/5 chance to win the race. As they say in racing, keep yourself in the best company and your horses in the worst!

But, to be serious, I relish the opportunity and the challenge to take on Awtaad and the impressive French Guineas winner The Gurkha - though we beat First Selection further at Newmarket than he did at Deauville - on what will hopefully be decent ground next month.

For the racing fan, it is going to be the race of the meeting and a very exciting spectacle.

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