Hugo Palmer discusses the form and chances of his runners at Sandown and York on Saturday afternoon...
"That suggests he's well handicapped, and while it goes without saying that he cannot give a start and a beating to sprinters of this quality, he must go close if breaking on terms."
- Hugo Palmer on Gulliver
14:20 - Mazyoun
Mazyoun has run well without winning on all three starts this year between six furlongs and a mile. I thought a flat seven furlongs at York would suit ideally last time, but he hated the soft ground despite again doing his best.
He's clearly not easy to win with from his current mark in competitive three-year-old contests, but is a big, strong gelding who could be suited by getting weight for age from his elders, and I must say getting in here off a low weight is very appealing.
He should appreciate the return to better ground, and I'm not worried about his draw in the middle - I'd rather be drawn 10 than 18 for sure, and it should make it easier for him to tuck in behind the leaders.
15:30 - Gulliver
I'm looking forward to running Gulliver, and the handicapper has definitely given him a chance by not raising him for an unfortunate run at Windsor. He completely blew the start there, and trailed the rest of the field by some way after a furlong. It was a remarkable performance in the circumstances to be beaten just a length, and he must have made up nearly 15 lengths on the winner to do so.
That suggests he's well handicapped, and while it goes without saying that he cannot give a start and a beating to sprinters of this quality, he must go close if breaking on terms. We've been doing a bit of practice at home to help in that regard, and I'm fairly confident he'll be more switched on this time.
16:40 - Arbalet
Arbalet is bred to be a smart two-year-old, and this gorgeous big colt certainly looks the part. His parents were both Group 1 winners as juveniles, with Dark Angel winning the Middle Park and his dam Miss Beatrix landing the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh. He was purchased for €370,000 as a foal, and everything about him suggests he'll do well.
He's ready to start, and I expect him to run a nice race, but York maidens tend to be very competitive, and like all my juveniles, he'll definitely improve for the run - even Galileo Gold was beaten on debut, and at this track too.
14:40 - Koropick
I'd hoped Koropick would handle Epsom, but he didn't act on the downhill run and only ran on when hitting the rising ground. He's a horse who has had a number of hold-ups, injuring a foot at Newbury on his return, and he's not had the clearest of runs in his work as a result. Since Epsom, though, he's had no interruptions, and he can only benefit from that.
He's a winner over six furlongs, so Sandown's stiff five should be fine, although I'd obviously have preferred to be drawn nearer the far rail. It will be interesting to see how he gets on.