After a creditable second in the Craven, Hugo Palmer is expectant of another good performance from White Mocha in the Dante at York on Thursday. The Betfair Ambassador explains all here...
"His work on The Limekilns the other morning was electric, a really exciting piece of work, which makes me think he can be very competitive at York."
We go to York with real hopes
The Craven was not the original plan with White Mocha, and he was far from fully ready when lining up at Newmarket. He has improved enormously in the weeks since - he's bigger and stronger, and his work of late has been fantastic, so this is a much more realistic assignment for him.
In the early spring, he was doing just enough in his work, and I wanted to see more from him, so a week before the Craven we worked him in a set of blinkers, and it sharpened him up so much that I suggested to the owner that we run him at Newmarket to see what we might learn. He wore the blinkers there and ran a very good race to be second.
Since then there have been a couple of occasions where the headgear has really done the trick, and his work on The Limekilns the other morning was electric, a really exciting piece of work, which makes me think he can be very competitive at York.
He won't wear blinkers this time, as I hope they have already done what they were intended to do, and while he's a very settled and relaxed colt at home, he's stepping up in trip by two and a half furlongs, and I don't want to take a chance on him being a bit free. I'm aware he needs to step up on what he's achieved now tackling a longer trip, but horses often show improved form for having their stamina drawn out, and I'm hopeful that he will.
The Dante is a warm race, but while Aidan O'Brien often sends his number one Epsom hope to York, this year's entries don't appear to be in his stable's front rank, which might make the race more winnable. The favourite is Roaring Lion, who we have already beaten, and the form of White Mocha's win in the Haynes Hanson & Clark was well advertised when runner-up Knight To Behold won the Lingfield Derby Trial at the weekend, so we go to York with real hopes.