Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer reflects on Collide’s performance in the Duke of Edinburgh, while also looking ahead to a busy Saturday with five of his camp in action
We know that, in order to win at Royal Ascot, you need so many things to go in your favour. Collide didn’t win the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, but I was very happy with how he ran in defeat.
Usually, stall two in a 19-runner race is a fantastic draw, but that doesn’t appear to be the case over a mile and a half at Ascot, and when you are locked away on the inside, that can make it difficult.
We were tracking Secret Advisor, and he didn’t really travel, he didn’t take us into the race. We were locked away on the rail, being taken further and further out of the race along the inside, and there wasn’t a lot that James McDonald could do about it.
We ended up starting our run from a long way back, and that made it difficult. He did run on well in the home straight, he ran a fine race, but I do believe that, if you run the race again, maybe with a different draw and a different run through the race, you could have had a different result.
He is a 99-rated handicapper, we are under no illusions about him, and if he had 10lb in hand he would have been able to quicken from his position.
He is a good staying handicapper though, and a very admirable one.
He will go up in trip now, and we will look to avoid fast ground with him. We could risk him on fast ground in the Ebor, but because the Ebor is a million-pound race this year, he is probably going to have to win again between now and then to take his handicap mark up. I think he could. There is a one mile five furlong race at the July meeting at Newmarket where we might go, and they can get soft ground at Newmarket for the July meeting.
I was pleased that Assembled was able to shed his maiden tag at Windsor on Monday evening.
Things went right for him. The favourite, third favourite and fifth favourite were all withdrawn at the start. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t have beaten them anyway, but it was nice that it went our way. That was just his third run, and hopefully, he can continue to progress.
I was pleased too with On The Line’s win at Redcar on Friday. He battled well. The original plan was to get him to win about two weeks earlier and sneak him into the bottom of the handicap in the Britannia at Royal Ascot off a mark of 91 or 92. He has won his race all right, and he is now rated 92, but it was just about two weeks too late! Even so, it was nice for him to win again.
Paths Of Glory ran well in the 12-furlong maiden at Haydock on Saturday evening. We probably just committed a little too soon. If we had followed the leader for a bit longer, we might have got there.
He’s run very well again though, we’ve been very patient with him, and I think he’s going to be a nice staying horse. As a four-year-old though, he has to give lots of weight away to really quite mature three-year-olds in the middle of the season. He’s the sort of horse we could take to Hamilton, as we did with Collide last summer when he won novice stakes.
Zofelle ran well too in a fillies’ handicap at Newmarket on Saturday. It looked like she was going to win when she led on the run to the furlong pole, but she just didn’t get home. I thought she was guaranteed to stay a mile, she is out of a Galileo mare, but we might just drop her back down in trip now, and hopefully she can win again soon.
We have a busy day on Saturday.
Mootasadir goes in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, returning to a surface that he is unbeaten on. He is now six for six on all-weather.
He has a good draw in stall two, so we’ll probably go forward from there. He has a lot of weight, but we are taking 5lb off him with Dylan Hogan, a young man who is getting lots of good reports.
Even with Dylan’s claim though, Mootasadir will have to carry 9st 7lb, which is a lot of weight in a Northumberland Plate. He has had a busy year too, he had his first run this year at Wolverhampton in March, and he was over to America last time for the Belmont Gold Cup. He will definitely have a little break after this.
I hope that he can answer the question of whether or not he stays. He hasn’t handled the ground in his last two starts, so we still don’t know for sure if he stays or not.
Fingers crossed though. It’s a race I’d really love to win, as a northerner and a Newcastle United supporter.
We have won the Chipchase Stakes and the Hoppings Stakes, but we haven’t managed to win the Plate or the Beeswing. Hopefully we can go close on Saturday. If he stays, and if he is not feeling the effects of his season to date, and there is no evidence that he is, then he should run well.
Encrypted runs in the Chipchase Stakes. We deliberately gave the Wokingham a miss with him, in the knowledge that, with the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee and Wokingham and Commonwealth Cup and Jersey Stakes, a lot of horses who could potentially run in the Chipchase Stakes would have run at Royal Ascot.
We did this with Koropick two years ago, and it worked. This year, we didn’t really reckon on Invincible Army coming on to Newcastle after running in the Diamond Jubilee. If he runs his race, if he runs as well as he ran in the Duke of York Stakes, then we probably won’t beat him. But he was well beaten at Ascot, and this is just seven days after that, so he is beatable.
Encrypted has a great record on all-weather. He has won four of his six races on the surface. He was disappointing last time at Lingfield, but he hadn’t come in his coat then, and we followed a blistering pace behind Kachy. We paid for that. If he can leave that form behind him and return to his Lingfield form from last November, then he would have a big chance.
We run Rashdan in the 12-furlong handicap. He has won around Newcastle, and it should help him, going back to an all-weather surface. I don’t think that this is the deepest of races, and if he runs as well as I know he can run, then he should go close to winning it.
Arbalet runs in the listed race at Windsor. He has a nice draw in stall one, and I’d like to think that he will be able to slot in behind the leaders from that draw.
He’s stepping up to a mile for the first time, so we’ll probably ride him a little more conservatively than usual. He still has to prove his stamina for a mile, but his style of running suggests that there is every chance that he will stay.
He seems in good nick.
It took him quite a few runs to get going last year, but he’s a giant of a horse, and I thought there was more sign of life at Salisbury two weeks ago.
That was over six furlongs, which we know is an inadequate test for him. We’ll just have to see how far his stamina gets him now. His best run was in the international handicap at Ascot over seven furlongs last year, and Ascot is a stiff track.
Crochet makes her debut in a median auction stakes at Lingfield on Saturday evening. She’s a lovely looking filly and, while I’m not sure about her trip, seven furlongs seems rights. She looks like a stayer but she doesn’t seem to be slow. I hope the weather stays good now and the ground stays fast. She is a nicely bred Juddmonte filly, and I think that she will appreciate nice fast ground.