Hugo Palmer - Off To Germany On Sunday With Heavenly Holly

11 min

Matchbook Ambassador Hugo Palmer has a half dozen runners for the weekend ahead and is quietly confident that a couple can get the job done!

Heavenly Holly is on her travels again on Sunday, she’s off to Germany this time to run in a listed race at Baden-Baden over seven furlongs.

She has had a little bit of a break since she ran at Naas at the end of July. She didn’t quite finish off her race like we hoped she would there, so we’ve given her a little bit of time. I hope that we might have found a slightly weaker race than the two Irish races she ran in last month.

She is versatile as regards ground, she has finished third in a listed race, and she is a beautifully bred filly who has won three times in total. The prize money is not great for Sunday’s race, but it would be fantastic if we could get our head in front in a listed race.

We have 1lb to find with Sir Mark Prescott’s filly Miss Celestial, so there shouldn’t be much between the two of us. I don’t know a lot about the German runners. I have taken horses to Germany before, and I have always thought that their middle-distance horses looked better than their shorter-distance horses, so I am hopeful that we will at least be competitive with them over seven furlongs. Jack Mitchell knows our filly well and he knows Germany well. I am hoping that she will go well.

Heavenly Holly heads across to Germany on Sunday.

Back at home, Siglo Six goes in a one-mile handicap at Sandown on Saturday. He was a progressive horse through the spring, he got better with every start, and he showed real guts to win at Doncaster at the end of July.

The form of his previous run at Thirsk, and the form of his Doncaster win, all worked out well, so we were very disappointed with his run at Newmarket last time. There had been heavy showers on fast ground, and it was soft and slippery and loose, he wasn’t at all at home on it at all and he ran no race on it.

He has been fine since, he has been in great form, and I hope that he can resume his progress now back on a sound surface.

He was entered in a three-year-olds’ only race too, and I was a bit disappointed that this race filled as well as it did, but I still think that it is the right race for him. He is unexposed and progressive, and it might suit him to take on the older horses here. We are drawn wide enough in stall nine, but I hope that they will go a decent gallop and that he can get a nice position and travel around well.

It’s a good-sized field, so they should go a good gallop, and the long straight and stiff finish should all work to his advantage. I hope that he can resume his progress.

Hugo Palmer, trainer

Rachmaninov will make his debut for us in the median auction race at Lingfield. I think that he’s a nice horse. He’s a full brother to Purser, who was trained by John Gosden, a listed race winner who was sold to Hong Kong.

I think that Rachmaninov is a horse who will win races. Lingfield is a tricky place to go on debut, the bend is sharp and it is a downhill run into the straight but, by the same token, horses can learn a lot from racing there. I hope that he will run well, but he should be a lot wiser afterwards, and I think that he can make up into a nice three-year-old.

Vintage Polly goes in the median auction race at Chelmsford. She was declared to run on Sunday at Yarmouth, but the clerk of the course was kind enough to let us know that his watering system had broken and that the ground was likely to be fast.

I’m sure that she’ll be okay on fast ground, but just for her first run, I didn’t want to take the risk. It is always important that a horse has a good experience, especially first time out. So I didn’t run her, knowing that this race was coming up.

She should be fine on all-weather and she’s nicely drawn in the stall four in the middle. But it is a competitive-looking race. Like all of ours, she’ll come on for it. She doesn’t have an easy task, but she’s showing me at home that she is likely to win races. We’ll see how she goes.

Birdcage Walk runs in the 10-furlong fillies’ handicap. I couldn’t walk away from a five-runner race worth £15,000. It’s typically good prize money at Chelmsford.

The bottomless ground at Nottingham the last time was against her. She looks tremendous now, and I hope that she can start to go forward again because it was a backward step on bottomless ground last time. She hasn’t run on all-weather yet but I think that she should handle it well.

We had a few winners during the week. Hariboux ran on well to win again at Newmarket on Saturday. The handicapper took no chances, he raised him to a mark of 92 afterwards, but 92 for a horse who cost 11,000 guineas is all right.

It’s great for the syndicate who own him. They are getting such a kick out of it. They just keep saying, what a wonderful summer this is. The enjoyment that they are getting out of it. And that’s what this game is all about. We can get too serious about it. A winner at Newmarket on Saturday meant so much to the syndicate.

I was delighted too with Powerful Breeze at Newmarket on Friday. She has always looked like a very nice filly. We have bided her time with her, and that is paying dividends.

One of the great things about training for owner/breeders is that you get to know the families. We trainer Powerful Breeze’s sister, Power To Exceed, and we may have rushed her a little bit, so I was happy to take my time with this filly.

I hope that she can progress now. She might go for a conditions race at Newbury, and if she were to win again we’d definitely be raising her sights. But she is a nice filly, I am delighted hat we have found another potentially smart filly for Dr Ali, and I think that she will be even better next year.