Hugo Palmer: Excitement is building over Architecture's Oaks bid

Architecture works under Frankie Dettori during the Breakfast With The Starsat Epsom event last week
Architecture works under Frankie Dettori during the Breakfast With The Starsat Epsom event last week

Epsom is imminent and Royal Ascot is looming and Hugo Palmer has a number of runners at each of these massive meetings. Here is his latest report from Kremlin Cottage Stables...

"The Investec Oaks is obviously a massive race, a Group 1, and a Classic. There will be no hiding place for Architecture as she steps up in class, and I am under no illusions about the task she faces, but she is in great form and she is definitely not without a chance."

Everyone here is very excited by the fact that we have our first runner in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday.

It is obviously a massive race, a Group 1, and a Classic. There will be no hiding place for Architecture as she steps up in class, and I am under no illusions about the task she faces, but she is in great form and she is definitely not without a chance.

If Minding is as brilliant over 1m4f as she is over 1m, then we are all in serious trouble. However, I feel that there is every chance that she won't stay, on pedigree and style of racing, and that is obviously my hope, too.

To my eye, she is similar to Galileo Gold, with a prominent racing style. She won her maiden in June over 6f on fast ground and looks more about speed to me.

She is obviously the best miler going into the race, and I think she was just beaten by a horse who handled the testing conditions better in Ireland last time, again very similar to Galileo Gold.

I think she may be vulnerable over the trip, and I am very happy with Architecture, who I think has a good chance in a very open race.

She is a very balanced filly - she throws herself into all shapes on the way home from the gallops - and very athletic, and that is exactly what she showed us when we took her to the Breakfast With The Stars last week.

She doesn't have the form that Minding has shown over a mile, and we were a neck second to Seventh Heaven in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield and we have to turn that form around.

The winner was given a masterful ride by Ryan Moore at Lingfield, and Ryan said afterwards that his filly didn't handle the track that day, so how she copes with Epsom will be interesting. And we were having our first run of the season at Lingfield, while the winner had the benefit of a previous run.

Frankie was keen to commit to my filly before her spin around Epsom, and he was happy with that decision afterwards, as he was with stall nine of nine.

Architecture worked well in testing ground at Breakfast With The Stars but, of course, racing conditions are different. However, she finished third on soft ground on her debut and won her maiden on good to soft, so nothing that I know of makes me scared if the ground remains soft.

You can see why Skiffle's connections are chancing their arm in a very open year after her Goodwood win, with the step up in trip expected to suit her, and Harlequeen ran well in the Musidora despite not settling.

I'm guessing that connections of Turret Rocks will be hoping that the ground dries out quickly, as they have consistently said that the filly needs top of the ground. And if it does, then the Boussac runner-up and Guineas sixth has to be greatly respected.

The ground does dry out quickly at Epsom. It is like Newmarket in that there is a not a lot of soil on top of chalk.

I know there has been an inch of rain in the last 24 hours, with an unsettled forecast, but if the course avoids any more rain then it could easily be good to soft, good in places by Friday afternoon.

At Breakfast With The Stars that Tuesday morning all the jockeys reported the ground to be soft after heavy overnight rain, but by the Saturday it was good to firm. It is something to bear in mind.

A few words on our other Epsom runners...


Hyperfocus, drawn in one, will hopefully start off our Epsom meeting with a good run in the Woodcote.

He has done really well physically since winning impressively on his debut at Leicester on good to soft ground in April, and I have been very happy with him in his recent work.

He is a bigger, stronger colt now but obviously the opposition is a lot hotter than it was at Leicester.

We also have Harry Champion in the 7f handicap at Epsom on Friday.

He worked with Architecture at Breakfast With The Stars and what that told us is that he didn't like the soft ground, so he would want the ground to dry up.

He fractured a vertebra in his back jumping out of the stalls at Windsor last June, so we gave him a lot of time and in his recuperation he did a lot of work galloping on a treadmill without a rider on his back.

He did well on his return in December, winning and finishing second at Wolverhampton, and he has been gelded since as the feeling was that he could have stuck his head out and wanted a bit more when runner-up on his most recent start.

He hasn't changed a lot physically but he is off a fair mark, and Josephine Gordon takes off 5lb. She is very capable and has already worked the oracle for us once when winning on Fearbuster at Wolverhampton in April. Only those in the stable and the filly's owners know what a feat that was!

Evergate is entered at Goodwood but he obviously won't run after finishing third at Leicester on Tuesday.

He ran well there but that told us that he isn't a Royal Ascot horse. But we set so much store by Ascot and the breathlessness of it all - it's a whirlwind of racing, travelling and drinking - that we often forget that after it there is still six months of the season to go. So there will be many more opportunities for him.

We will probably run Banish and Baydar in the 1m2f handicap on Saturday, and hopefully both will appreciate the step up in distance.

It will be Banish's first run on turf as well as over the trip, and a mark of 84 seems fair enough without him being obviously well-handicapped. But hopefully there is improvement to come after his Lingfield win.

Baydar is also in the 1m handicap at Newcastle on Saturday night, but I am leaning towards Epsom. He found the ground too quick for him at Ascot first time up, and has come forward since. He is a small, nimble type who could be suited by the track.

Nessita is in the 1m2f handicap at Lingfield, but in my dreams over the winter she was running in the Oaks on Friday and not off a mark of 75 on the all-weather on Saturday! But I have been happier with her recently after she disappointed on her reappearance.

I am not sure if Nile Empress runs in the 5f maiden on turf on the same card yet.


News on Majoris, Gifted Master, Home Of The Brave and more...


Copper Knight was a disappointment in the National Stakes last week. He hung all the way at Sandown, and he thinks life is harder than it actually is.

He did get a bump coming out of the stalls and was drawn widest, and he was a little bit sore afterwards, but I think that he could be wearing headgear next time.

All the eyes of the world were seemingly on our Frankel colt Majoris at Newbury last week, and I was delighted with his run in sixth. He was there to learn primarily - I made no secret of that beforehand - and I loved the way that he travelled mid-race and was doing all his best work late on, and we will look for a 7f maiden for him now.

I thought James Doyle rode a magnificent race on Home Of The Brave in the Timeform Jury Stakes, or the John Of Gaunt to you and I, at Haydock on Saturday.

James played around with the pace from the front and I loved the fact that when the horse was challenged he picked up again. Once again the race showed us: a) what a good horse he is over 7f and b) he shapes as though a mile may just suit him, too.

We have plenty of options with him now for the rest of the season but one of the obvious places for him next is the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh on July 17, the race he was disqualified from after winning so impressively last year, so we will look to right a wrong there.

It is now a Group 2 race - it has been upgraded from a Group 3 after his 3 ½ length "win" last year - so he wouldn't carry a penalty.

Gifted Master has the option of the 6f Commonwealth Cup or the 7f Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot after his third in the Sandy Lane. He will be left in the former, and entered for the latter, at the five-day stage and I will sit down with the owners the weekend before Ascot and make a decision.

As regards his Haydock run, I think the big thing to point out is that the winning time was four seconds quicker than the race that we had won at Ascot previously, and over 6f that equates to 24 lengths. So I reckon that was some performance from Quiet Reflection, who I was very taken with.

And that confirmed my pre-race suspicion that the much faster 6f at Haydock could just undo Gifted Master. I have said all along that I don't think the horse is a sprinter - he won over 1m last season - but he had won so well over the trip this season that we had to try. And he ran well on his first venture into Group 2 company.

If we hadn't have gone to Haydock then we would have probably gone straight to the Commonwealth Cup - and, who knows, we may reverse the form on Ascot's stiffer six - but the Jersey Stakes over 7f comes more into the reckoning now.

Finally, all roads lead to the Prince of Wales' Stakes with Covert Love, and Galileo Gold heads to the St James' Palace Stakes in very good form.

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