Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer runs the rule over his seven runners for Friday and Saturday!
We have always liked Arthur’s Court and I was delighted that he finally get his head in front on Monday at Windsor. James Doyle was extremely complimentary about him after the race saying that he’s got the right attitude and will keep progressing. His half-brother won a Group 2 over 1m 2f and I think that might be his trip in time, whether that is later this season or next year, I’m not sure yet.
Birdcage Walk is bidding to complete a hat-trick at Nottingham. She seems versatile ground-wise and she won over Course and Distance in horrendous ground two starts back. We beat Teodora De Vega by nearly two lengths that day and they meet off exactly the same terms here. I’ve been really happy with my her in the last ten days. Although there are only six runners, it’s a race worth £25,000 and it’s undoubtedly her toughest test to date but that is life when you are winning!
Collette made a nice debut in the first race of the Matchbook EBF Future Stayers’ Series finishing 3rd at Yarmouth ten days ago. It’s hard to know exactly what she achieved considering that they only other horse with form in that race was tailed off and the rest of us finished in a little bit of a heap. Having said that, I was at Yarmouth and the five of them were good looking horses with some nice pedigrees so it would be disappointing if it was a bad race.
In this race, Banmi has been given a mark of 70 so we are going to have to run to at least that mark to win but I’m hopeful that Collette is a bit better than 70. We are drawn a little bit wider than I’d like and she’ll need to prove that she handles the all-weather surface as well as the fast ground at Yarmouth but it’s a small field and I’m hopeful that it is a nice opportunity for her to get off the mark.
Mina Vagante has been unlucky by bumping into one twice at Redcar on her last two starts. She has definitely improved for the step up in trip to 1m 2f and I’m looking forward to running her here off bottom weight with James Doyle on board. She is by Exceed And Excel so wouldn’t want too much more rain.
Siglo Six scrambled home at Doncaster over 7 furlongs last time. He’s the only three year old in this field which makes him some way the least exposed. In fact, we are taking on four and five year olds who have had lots of races (105 starts between them) and we have only had four. In a handicap, you would hope that the handicapper knows more about the other five runners than he does about us! Having said that, he’s going to need to improve off his mark but I think he is capable of doing so – he’s been doing everything right at home.
Caravan Of Hope has been given an opening mark of 81 which isn’t necessarily a gimmie. He was really unlucky not to get off the mark at Wolverhampton over 1m 4f and that could still be his trip but he’s been placed over 9 furlongs and he’s definitely still improving.
Powertrain has shown ability in both his runs to date. I’m looking forward to running him on slightly slower ground than he has encountered so far. There are some nicely bred newcomers in the field which we of course have to respect but we have always liked Powertrain. We have been happy with his work at home and on paper, this looks like a good opportunity to get into the Winners’ Enclosure.
The ground just went against Arbalet in the International at Ascot after a deluge of rain on the morning of the race. He was only beaten seven lengths that day and James Doyle reiterated that soft ground doesn’t play to his strengths. He’s now down to a mark of 99 and I don’t think he’s done an enormous amount wrong this season, apart from one disappointing run at Haydock when he wasn’t right. He’s come out of the race at Ascot really well and if the ground is as quick as advertised (good to firm) then we’ve got a great chance as he’s in really good form.
I’m scratching my head as to why Power Of States hasn’t won yet this season – he was unlucky at Nottingham on his first run back and ran really well at the July meeting when the ground was a bit lively for him but his latest run at Thirsk was frustrating but I still retain my faith in him. Power Of States also has the assistance of James Doyle and the likely good to soft ground will suit him.
Elsewhere, I was delighted to see my former assistant George Boughey get off the mark as a trainer at Lingfield on Tuesday evening. He spent six years with me and I wish him all the best.