Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer reflects on Powerful Breeze’s epic run in the Fillies Mile at Newmarket
Powerful Breeze ran a massive race in the Fillies’ Mile. She was in front for 250 metres before the winning line, and she was in front two strides after it. That was very frustrating. But she justified our faith in her, and Dr Ali’s faith in paying the supplementary entry fee. While we were frustrated that we didn’t win, we were very proud of the filly and how well she ran.
She is second-favourite for the 1000 Guineas, and that’s the race that we are aiming at now. We are behind only Quadrilateral in the Guineas betting, the filly who beat us on Friday and, to be honest, I’d be delighted to take her on again. I wouldn’t swap our filly for her, I wouldn’t swap our filly for anything. I’m very proud of her, I’m very lucky to have her.
She was in the yearling sales last year, she was there to be bought but they didn’t offer enough for her, so we bought her back.
It’s brilliant for Dr Ali to have a filly like her. And he has the mare at home, and we’re very lucky to have a yearling half-sister to her by Sepoy. That’s exciting too.
I can’t see why Powerful Breeze won’t improve over the winter.
That was just her third run in the Fillies’ Mile. It’s frustrating, of course, not to have won the Group 1 race when we had her in tremendous form. She has come out of the race extremely well though, she’s never left an oat. It’s an exciting position to be in.
It was different with our 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold. He was a 50/1 or a 66/1 shot for the Guineas at the end of his two-year-old season. He didn’t put us in this position. It’s a lovely position to be in.
Her owner wants her next start to be in the 1000 Guineas, so that’s what we’re going to do. Dr Ali would rather win a Guineas than a Breeders’ Cup race, as would I. If I had bought her for 50 grand with my mates and we wanted to have a bit of fun with her, we could bring her to California, run in the Breeders’ Cup and have some fun in the sunshine. But she has left us with the feeling that we have a filly who could win the 1000 Guineas.
Ironically, she’s probably a filly who would suit the American style of racing very well. But she could get travel sickness if she went to the States, or something could happen. Of course, something could happen at home too, but we’re not going to tempt fate by sending her across the world.
Not that running in the Breeders’ Cup is a negative for a juvenile in terms of having a successful three-year-old season. Anthony Van Dyck won the Derby this year after going to the Breeders’ Cup last year, Masar did likewise last year. Flotilla won the French Guineas on her next run after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies in 2012. It might even be a positive. There’s a school of thought that says that it toughens them up, teaches them to be more streetwise.
But we just don’t want to push our luck with this filly. If she gets ill in England, she gets ill in England, but we want to minimise the chances of anything going wrong. I can’t have her not 110% on Christmas Day. If she isn’t, she probably won’t win a 1000 Guineas. The Guineas comes up early in the year. If you have a problem, there is very little wiggle room.
I expect that we’ll send her somewhere for three or four weeks now, for the rest of October and for a couple of weeks in November. Just to get her away for a little bit, get her away from racehorses, let her chill, get her head down and eat grass. Then we’ll take her back and probably start back trotting just before Christmas, and start cantering in January. That’s the plan anyway.
Galieo Gold was different, he was a big burly colt and he probably needed holding a little bit closer to the flame that she does. He thrived on an enormous amount of graft. He loved it. This filly is different, as fillies often are. She doesn’t need as much graft, she doesn’t want it. She is similar enough to Unforgettable Filly, who finished second in the Nell Gwyn before finishing sixth in the Guineas, then going to Dusseldorf and winning the German 2000 Guineas.
We would go to the Guineas this time though without a prep run. I don’t see why we want to drop a Group 2 winner back to a Group 3 race, and I don’t see why we need to drop a May Hill winner back to seven furlongs. I’ve said many times now, she came to us quickly. She had just two bits of work before she won her novice stakes. Then she did another bit of work and won the May Hill, then did another bit of work and finished second in the Fillies’ Mile. I don’t see any need for a prep run before the Guineas.
The Guineas is a long way off, but at least she will keep us warm during the winter.
Emissary is another horse who will occupy our minds during the winter. I was delighted with his win at Wolverhampton on Saturday night on his racecourse debut. He did it very nicely.
It’s a real privilege to be able to train a horse with a pedigree like his, a son of Kingman and a half-brother to Derby winner Workforce. I never saw him as a yearling, he was two when he came here, but he wouldn’t have been the most striking yearling in the world. That is probably why he came onto my list rather than being sent to Andre Fabre or John Gosden or Sir Michael Stoute, who have more than 40 trainers’ championships between them!
Everyone who has ridden Emissary at home says that he is a lovely horse. Jack Mitchell, who rode him too on Saturday, says that at home he feels like a big horse, but when you get the exercise tack off him and get the racing tack on him, he feels like he is a horse with a big frame. He is going to strengthen and fill out during the winter.
Even if he wasn’t bred as he is, you would have said, just based on the way that he won on Saturday, that he’d be a pretty exciting horse. But add that to his breeding, by the hottest young stallion in the northern hemisphere, and a half-brother to a Derby winner, and he’s a really exciting prospect.
Paths Of Glory won nicely too at Newcastle on Friday. He’s a nice progressive, horse, and he does handle easy ground, he just got a bit bogged down in the heavy ground at Hamilton in August. He was better on better ground at Chepstow next time, and he took well to the all-weather on Friday.
The handicapper put him up 5lb for that, which I thought was fair enough. He remains in good form, he appears to be in the same nick as he was in last week, bucking and kicking. We’re going to allow him take his chance at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening, and I’d love to think that he has a decent chance of landing the hat-trick.
We run a two-year-old at Wolverhampton too on Saturday night, Savanna Gold, in the novice stakes. He was green on debut, he was slowly away and he didn’t really make much of an impression. This is not the strongest race in the world, and I’m hoping that he can go forward from his racecourse debut.