Hugo Palmer - Getting Set For Royal Ascot

8 min

Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer has plenty of live chances at Royal Ascot next week. He gives Matchbook Insights readers the lowdown here.

Ironclad ran well to finish second in the 10-furlong maiden at Chelmsford last Saturday. If the race had panned out a little better for him, he could have won, but it was good to get him back on track.

He’s a big baby, it’s just taking him some time to learn, but it was still an encouraging run and he should be able to build on it.

He has been given a mark of 81, which I think is a workable mark, but I still think that he can win his maiden.

He is entered in a maiden at Beverley next Tuesday. It will be a quick turnaround, but he is a strong, robust horse and I think that he should be fine with that. He’ll be fine too if the ground remains soft, and it looks like a winnable race at the minute.

Ironclad was unlucky to finish second at Chelmsford last Saturday.

Mootasadir ran well for a long way in the Belmont Gold Cup at Belmont Park last Friday. Everything went well for most of the race, he had a nice draw and he got himself into the right position. But once his head was let go on turf, he couldn’t let down and get lower and gallop, like he can on all-weather.

It’s deeply confusing, he just can’t seem to quicken on turf like he can on all-weather. But he’s back home now, he’s taken the whole thing well, and he looks a million dollars.

The Northumberland Plate is the plan for him. We don’t know that he will stay, but he stays a mile and a half well, and we are hopeful that he will get two miles.

It was frustrating that Kempton was called off on Wednesday evening as it looked like we were going there with chances. And we had four entries for this Saturday, I was looking forward to running all four, they had all been working well, but this rain is no good for any of them. I have taken all four out. There is no point in leaving them in and then pulling them out on the day and disappointing the owners. It is a long year, so the best thing is to be patient and wait for the ground to come around again.

We are looking forward to Royal Ascot next week. For most people in flat racing, it is the highlight of the year.

We run a nice two-year-old in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday in Coasse. He was impressive in winning at Carlisle on soft ground on his racecourse debut, so he won’t mind if the rain continues. Soft ground could level the playing field for us.

He has leapt forward since then, I have been delighted with how he has done, and he could run well at a big price.

Set Piece is likely to run in the Britannia. I hope to step him up to 10 furlongs before long, but the stiff straight mile of the Britannia should suit him well.

We don’t know what happened to him in the Guineas, he was just disappointing, but it wasn’t his running. It was nowhere near his Craven run. He has been great since then, I have been really pleased with his work, so I hope that he can leave his Guineas run behind him at Ascot.

He is rated 104, he will have plenty of weight in the Britannia, but he is a strong horse who should be able to carry the weight.

Set Piece has bounced back well from his Guineas disappointment.

Heavenly Holly is in the Wokingham, and the plan is to allow her take her chance if she gets into the race, which she should do now. Before that, though, she will run in the Charlotte Stakes at Chelmsford on Wednesday evening.

She ran well to finish third in a listed race at Haydock three weeks ago, and it would be great if she could go and win her listed race now. She’s in good form and I hope that she can run well.

Gifted Master is on track for the Wokingham. It will be a tough task to win a Wokingham off a handicap rating of 107, but they gave him 116 after he won the Stewards Cup off 111 last year, so he should be fine with that rating.

He’s in very good form at home, he’s a handful again, he came out like a bear on his hind legs this morning. He seems fantastic in himself. It’s a tight handicap, it’s hard to get into these big handicaps these days, so he goes there with a chance.