Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer gives Matchbook Insights readers the exclusive lowdown on his runners across the land today!
We have a few chances on Saturday.
Ironclad has a chance in the 10-furlong maiden at Chelmsford.
He is a horse that I have always adored.
He’s the best-looking horse I’ve ever trained I’d say, and he’s probably the best-bred horse that I’ve ever trained. He’s by Dubawi out of Heat Haze, who is a multiple Grade 1 winner herself, and who is obviously from a fantastic family. Heat Haze is out of Hasili and therefore a half-sister to Dansili, Banks Hill, Cacique, Champs Elysees and Intercontinental.
Ironclad hasn’t run up to his pedigree yet, but it’s early days, he has only run twice.
We have given him a little break since he ran at Doncaster at the start of the turf season. He had a small skin infection, so we have given him a little bit of time.
If it all comes together for him, he could run well, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he did a few things wrong. He has done a few things wrong in each of his first two runs, and he could easily do things wrong again a third time. He is a big horse, and he is taking a little bit of time to figure things out.
I think that, when it does all come together for him, he could be good. I like him a lot, I think that he is a horse with talent. Hopefully, he can run well.
We have Hot Team running at Chelmsford too, in the one-mile handicap. He was a funny horse last year, he probably should have won the Tattersalls Ireland sales race at The Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend. Ryan Moore was very strong on him there, but he came in and suggested that we should put some headgear on him. So we did, and we ran him in a listed race in France, which he won.
I’m not sure that it was the strongest listed race ever run though. His comeback run this season in Germany was underwhelming and he didn’t come out of the race too well.
He seems to have come back to himself now though.
He wants some cut in the ground, which is why we have decided to run him at Chelmsford.
I have no doubt that he’s a solid 100 rated horse, but this is a competitive race, and whether or not he’s up to winning it off a mark of 102, I’m not sure. I’d be delighted if he were to win again, but he might struggle off a mark of 102.
We have declared Strait Of Hormuz for the six-furlong novice stakes at Newmarket. This is a race that Calyx won last year, and it looks like a competitive race this year.
I do like Strait Of Hormuz, but I am afraid that the ground might be too quick for him at Newmarket.
Newmarket missed a lot of the rain that was around on Friday, and I am not sure if Michael Prosser is going to water or not.
I have no doubt that Strait Of Hormuz has the ability, and if he is able to win or place over six furlongs on his racecourse debut, then we are thinking that he could be a horse for the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
I will see what the ground is like at Newmarket because we have the option of taking him out and running him at Leicester on Monday or at Salisbury or Thirsk on Tuesday instead. He has plenty of entries.
I don’t think that he won’t handle the fast ground, just that it might all happen a bit too quickly for him on fast ground over six furlongs. He is well bred, by Derby winner Sir Percy out of a High Chaparral mare, and I am looking forward to getting him going.
And we run Debbonair in the 10-furlong handicap at Lingfield on Saturday evening. We ran him at Salisbury the other day, he got a nice trip round, but he may have found the ground a bit quick for him. I’m not sure if he didn’t stay a mile and a half, or if he just wasn’t able to give his all on the ground. It was probably a combination of both.
I thought that we would run him back on all-weather and hope for a good draw.
We have drawn stall one, so we have that box ticked, so hopefully, he can run his race now.
It looks like a competitive race for the grade, a lot of very good owners are represented. But Debbonair is a winner on all-weather, he won at Kempton last December over a mile, and he very nearly stayed a mile and a half. So 10 furlongs at Lingfield from stall one should suit us well.