Three's the magic number for Betfair Ambassador Hugo Palmer on Saturday with three runners from Chelmsford and Lingfield. Here's what he has to say about them...
"He's won his only previous start on the all-weather, and I hope he can thrive back on an artificial surface - if so, we could have a productive autumn with him."
Improved performance will put my runner in contention here
His first start was far too bad to be true, and it's often the case that when something looks too bad, or too good, to be true, that it simply isn't. He'd been working nicely at home, and we fancied him to go well on his debut at Newmarket, but he ran an absolute stinker; he was desperately green, off the bridle throughout, and the only positive thing to say is that he just about managed to stay in touch. We then chucked him in again a week later there, and he ran a much better race in finishing fourth to Waldstern in what looked a decent mile novice.
That was much more in keeping with what we'd been expecting given he'd done plenty and was showing up well at home; he was also a breeze-up purchase and you'd not expect such types to be that green on debut, but he has been very slow mentally to come to hand; I don't think he's the finished article yet, but that run should stand him in good stead, and he could have a good chance here as a result.
I'd been hoping to go somewhere like Redcar or Thirsk with him, where he might have started favourite for a maiden, but there wasn't an obvious race for him in the north, so I entered him here. I hadn't really envisaged running him here, but I thought it didn't look too competitive in terms of the original entries, and in the end the race had to be reopened.
Leroy Leroy sets a decent standard, but if On The Line improves as much from his second to his third start as he did from his first to his second, then he'll be competitive.
Proper test will tell us a lot about talented runner
This is a very competitive contest for a non-graded event, but then the track has put up an excellent purse of £35,000 for the race, and that is what you'd expect for such a nice prize. We've always thought a lot of Blonde Warrior, and he's improving all the time, so while he's penalised for winning two races, all but one of the others is a winner, meaning he's effectively conceding just a 3lb penalty to his main opponents.
He ran in the Vintage Stakes last time, and we didn't learn as much as we would have liked, as they went far too fast in front, but he ran well for a long way. If he'd not gone there, then we may well have run him in the Solario at Sandown, and he worked well enough the other day that I did think about putting him in there instead of this, but given what happened at Goodwood, and how much he was pleasing us prior to that, I'm minded to try and find the lowest-hanging fruit for him. The penalty structure of this race makes it look the better option.
If he looks like a Group horse on Saturday, then we can go that route next time, otherwise we can head down the nursery path, and try to get there a bit more circuitously. I am very happy with him going into the race, accepting that it's a warm contest, and while he's drawn widest of all, it's better to be five of five than ten of ten. James won on him at Doncaster and has ridden him plenty at home, so knows him well, and I'm just hoping this will be a proper test of his credentials so we know where we are with him, as Goodwood didn't teach us much at all.
Aiming for an all-weather two from two
We've been looking for a bit of cut in the ground for Morning Skye, but it just hasn't happened at the right time for him. He's entered at Windsor on Monday, but I'm not certain he'll get his ground there, so I've decided to put him back on the all-weather.
He ran his best race over this trip at Haydock and, although you could call him a bit of an underachiever, I think there are quite a lot of horses like him who haven't been able to show what they can do due to the fast ground this summer.
The plan is to get him travelling behind the lead with a bit of cover, and he's well drawn in the middle of the field with a view to such tactics. He's won his only previous start on the all-weather, and I hope he can thrive back on an artificial surface - if so, we could have a productive autumn with him.