Betfair Ambassador Hugo Palmer gives his insights into the chances of his runners at Haydock, Newmarket and Lingfield on Saturday afternoon...
Anythingtoday is improving quickly, and won easily at Bath during the week. That run appears to have taken very little out of him, and while I had to make a decision to declare him quite quickly, my instinct is to run him under a penalty while conditions are in his favour.
The argument against that is that there are half a dozen valuable handicaps coming up in the next few weeks, and winning a smaller prize now could hinder his chances of subsequently landing a more valuable pot. It's something which has me scratching my head, as I'm aware that if I wait with him, the ground is likely to dry up again, and I'm loathed to waste the bird in hand for the want of the two in the bush.
Another consideration is that we beat David Elsworth's Ay Ay by just over two lengths here a fortnight ago, and that rival, who caught my eye, is now 17lb better off when David Egan's claim is taken into account, which reminds me that the bird might not be safely in hand at all. I'll continue to mull it over and will make a decision in the morning.
Jousi is a sweet filly we've always liked a lot at home, and I was delighted with her debut run at Newmarket where she was hampered more than once by the runner-up, and would have finished closer without those attentions. She confirmed that promise by winning at Ascot, and as a well-bred winner her aim is now to gain black type.
I'm confident that won't be a fruitless search based on what she's shown me, but the Sweet Solera is always a hotly contested race, and I'm reminded that my previous runner in this, Hawksmoor, could only finish sixth before going on to win the Prestige Stakes and the German 1000 Guineas; she has since proved herself a Grade 1 contender in the US and runs in the Beverley D Stakes on Saturday evening. That puts the task facing Jousi into perspective, but she goes there in good form.
There's no denying the talent which Gulliver possesses, but the issue has been getting him to channel it efficiently. The main problem we've had is getting him to jump on terms, but he got away perfectly well at Yarmouth last time only to bear left and then right and drop himself to the rear.
He needed sharp reminders to get into contention, and by the time he worked through the pack the winner had flown. He's twice made up a lot of lost ground like that, but there are no hiding places in good handicaps, and he needs to get motivated if he's to win the big Saturday prize I know he's capable of.
James Doyle is back on board, which is a positive, not least because James is naturally longer in the leg than most riders and Gulliver needs squeezing along more than most mounts. I don't think it's out of line to suggest that James would be challenging for the Jockeys' Championship if he wasn't restricted by his weight, but in this case I hope his height can work to his advantage - Gulliver's certainly gone best for him in the past.
The weather in Newmarket on Friday has been glorious in comparison to Thursday, and the ground, although soft, will have dried out to some degree by the weekend, which I think will be fine for Gulliver.
Colibri was one of my most exciting two-year-olds last year, winning his maiden by 12 lengths on soft ground, and I was very happy with his return over this trip at Sandown in the spring.
Since then we've tried him on quicker ground in the Britannia and then over ten furlongs here thinking that's what he needed, but the results have been disappointing, and we now find ourselves coming full circle in terms of what we believe are his correct conditions.
There are definite questions about some of the others in the prevailing going, so I hope we're right to come back to our initial assessment that Colibri wants a mile and cut in the ground, and if so we can start to see the best of him from here on.
Lewinsky made a really encouraging debut at Chelmsford, almost winning despite conceding first run to a Roger Charlton hotpot, and Josie (Gordon) reported that she hated the surface at Wolverhampton when only fourth there next time. People tend to assume that all-weather tracks tend to ride evenly, but my experience is not just that they differ significantly from track to track, but also from meeting to meeting at the same venue.
I'm happy to put a line through her latest effort, and she went well for Jack Mitchell first time, so it's no bad thing to have him in the saddle again. The going is very soft at Lingfield at present, but the weather has turned for the better, and it can dry out quickly there. I wouldn't want to run her on bottomless ground, but would have no great concern if it remained on the easy side.