Hugo Palmer: The inside track on my seven Saturday runners
Hugo Palmer runs the rule over his seven Saturday runners, including one at the Derby Day meeting at Epsom, as well as those in action at Doncaster, Lingfield and Musselburgh...
"Stage Names runs in my wife's name, and carries the old family colours sported by Rock Sand when he won the Derby in 1903, so it's lovely to have that link with the past on such an historic day."
Talented filly can do us proud on historic day
14:35 - Stage Name
It's a big leap from a Wolverhampton maiden to a Group 3 at Epsom on Derby day, but this filly's work is of a level which suggests that black type is achievable for her, and so that's why we're here. She's always worked with nice horses at home, and it was no surprise to see her win easily on her reappearance. She's nicely drawn, and this doesn't look the deepest group race ever run on these shores. I'm not saying that she is a star, but if any filly in this race has star potential, then it's her, as the others are all exposed as what they are.
Obviously, this is just her third start, and she has a lot of learning to do, while coping with the track and the atmosphere of Derby day is a test for any animal, but I think Silvestre will suit her, and I'm excited to be running her. In terms of the going, it's something new, but I think I'd prefer to run her on softish ground here than if they'd missed all the rain and it was rattling fast. Her regular work rider is one of my most experienced riders, and says she will handle it, so I have to go with that, while her sire, Famous Name, won 21 races in Ireland, the majority with soft in the going description, and I hope he passes that on to her.
Stage Name runs in my wife's name, and carries the old family colours sported by Rock Sand when he won the Derby in 1903, so it's lovely to have that link with the past on such an historic day.
Unforgettable Filly must put poor runs behind her
15:25 - Unforgettable Filly
Unforgetable Filly won this race last year, but does have two disappointing runs to put behind her. On both occasions, at Doncaster and at Keeneland, rain saw the ground go against her, and she ran badly. She was due to return at Lingfield recently, but I took her out when it rained again, as I don't want the ground to be a variable with her. She got sick when being prepared for the Falmouth Stakes last summer, and when she runs next, I want to be sure she has her preferred conditions. If she gets quick ground and disappoints again, then we may have to ask questions about her enthusiasm for racing, although it must be said that she is showing all her old sparkle on the gallops at present. She is nicely drawn, in the same stall as last year, in fact, but unlike 12 months ago when she was a three-year-old against older fillies, she is now conceding weight to the younger brigade, one of whom is Mystic Meg, and that won't be easy.
Mystic Meg is ready for big step up
15:25 - Mystic Meg
Mystic Meg is impeccably bred, being by Camelot out of a half-sister sister to Group 3 winning miler Hathal, whose dam is 1000 Guineas winner Sleepytime. This is a big step up from making all a Thirsk maiden last time, but she's well drawn in stall 2, and as a free-going filly, is likely to go forward again. If she can make the running and Danny gets the fractions right, it would be lovely to think she could make the first three, and gain black type, which would be mission accomplished. She seemed to enjoy very quick ground at Thirsk, so I'd prefer to see little or no rain for her as well.
Nathless should enjoy his debut against promising rivals
13:55 - Nathless
Nathless is, as his name suggests, a son of Nathaniel, although he's more reminiscent of his damsire Excellent Art in appearance. He's done plenty of work and has been ready for a while - the only reason he's making his debut in June is that he is a seven-furlong horse in pedigree and appearance, and this contest is the first opportunity for juveniles to race beyond six furlongs. With Royal Ascot not far away, I expect that novice races like this will prove to be pretty strong affairs, and as well as a couple with useful form already, there are a few choicely-bred newcomers in the field, so we'll see how we get along.
Eagle Hunter ready for take off
14:30 - Eagle Hunter
Similar comments apply to Eagle Hunter who runs in the second division of the two-year-old contest. He's a lovely-looking colt who would have been ready earlier if needed. He's also a seven-furlong type, but isn't without speed, and while he will have plenty to learn here, I'm looking forward to getting him on the track.
My two-year-olds this year aren't the most precocious, with the fastest of them looking like they want six furlongs rather than five, and they were a bit sick around the time of Cheltenham which knocked us back a month, but they are coming into themselves now, and I hope we can start notching up some two-year-old winners in June.
Promising colt targets hat-trick of wins
16:15 - Mootasadir
Mootasadir is a really promising colt who has won both his races, and while he was simply better than his rivals on debut at Chelmsford, he had to race properly when winning a slightly messy race at Wolverhampton when not as well placed as the runner-up initially. He's the least exposed in the field, the long straight at Doncaster should suit him, and I think he'll slot in early and follow them through to deliver a late challenge. He's still a baby, but he learned a lot last time, and I'd like to think if he can win on handicap debut, it would be his last run in a handicap. I nominated the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot as his main target after Wolverhampton. I hope he proves that to be a realistic goal here.
Dubai Landmark should be in the mix at Lingfield
18:10 - Dubai Landmark
The fact he's running in a 0-60 handicap shows that Dubai Landmark isn't one of our stars, but he does work well at home, and he's certainly better than a mark of 56 implies. I'd like to think he'd have a good chance of winning a race at this level, although we appear to have bumped into a typical Sir Mark Prescott improver in Midnight Blue, who left a row of duck-eggs behind when winning at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. Dubai Landmark didn't appear to stay last time, so we're dropping him back to ten furlongs here.