Hugo Palmer: My thoughts on Home of The Brave in the Breeders' Cup Mile

Hugo has one runner in Saturday's night's Breeders' Cup
Hugo has one runner in Saturday's night's Breeders' Cup
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A busy Saturday is in the offing for Betfair Ambassador Hugo Palmer, as he sends runners to Newmarket and Newcastle in the UK. Here, however, he shares his exclusive thoughts on his runner in the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar...

"Del Mar is a tight, idiosyncratic track which means that luck is required. It's not an easy track to ride, and I'm delighted to have Mike Smith riding the horse. Not only is he a Californian jockey who knows every blade of grass at Del Mar, but he's ridden more Breeders' Cup winners than any jockey in history, and having him on board might give us a real advantage."

Del Mar, 22:19
Home of The Brave

I'm really looking forward to running Home of The Brave in the Breeders' Cup Mile. This is my third Breeders' Cup trip - the first time the horse (Aktabantay) kicked a wall and broke his foot, the second time I ran the horse in the wrong race, and I'm hoping it's third time lucky now.

Home of The Brave is exactly where I want him to be - he shipped over in great condition, and is running in the right race, as opposed to last year, while the sharp track and fast ground ought to suit him. He's been training out here better than I could have hoped, and much better than he does at home - he can be a handful at home, but is a sweetheart abroad, and I'm very, very excited about the race.

I'm aware that if Ribchester turns up with his A-game, then we're going to have to run a 10lb career best to beat him, and there's no reason why Ribchester won't give his running, but Del Mar is a tight, idiosyncratic track which means that luck is required. It's not an easy track to ride, and I'm delighted to have Mike Smith riding the horse. Not only is he a Californian jockey who knows every blade of grass at Del Mar, but he's ridden more Breeders' Cup winners than any jockey in history, and having him on board might give us a real advantage. At the same time I'm obviously gutted that James Doyle, who gets on with him so well, is missing out.

When the rail is out at Del Mar, it's very hard to overcome a wide draw, but with a true rail, as we'll have in the Breeders' Cup, it's not so bad. I'd much rather be drawn where we are in stall nine than one, although if I could choose, I'd have been four/five/six.

Of course, we can't choose and that's why it's the luck of the draw, but he's had some practice in the gate this morning and was quick away. He's got good gate speed and had no trouble going the pace in the turf sprint last year, he just couldn't find the speed to quicken away again, and that will be different in the mile, while in Mike Smith he's got one of the best pairs of hands in North America, and he'll will know where to be at every point in the race.

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