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Hugo Palmer's Saturday Preview: He certainly hasn't appeared short of speed

22 Jul 2023
Cast No Shadow

Coral Racing Ambassador, Hugo Palmer, provides an exclusive preview on his two runners at Newbury this afternoon, as well as the club's very own Cast No Shadow's debut run at Ripon.

13:15 Newbury – Gunfighter

Newbury maidens always take a bit of winning, but as they should it’s a Group 1 track and a nice place to run good horses. Although he goes under the radar a little bit at home, I do like Gunfighter. He moves very well, and his work has been pleasing if not spectacular. He just gives me the feeling there’s more there, and maybe he’s saving it for the track.

He’s a very good-looking horse by an exceptional stallion Siyouni, but ours very rarely win first time. All three of my Group 1 winners were beaten first time out, so it certainly won’t be a negative if he is too. Having said that, if he was to win here it wouldn’t be a complete shock, and I think the trip will suit him for his first start. I’d hope he’d get a mile next season, but it’s unlikely we’ll go that far with him this year, and hopefully he can run with plenty of encouragement this weekend.

14:25 Newbury – Solent Gateway

He just didn’t stay at Royal Ascot but he ran a good race for a long way there, and although the trip stretched his stamina, he wasn’t beaten all that far in the end. He’s come out of the race incredibly well and his work at home has been very good since, so I’m looking forward to running him again.

He’ll definitely relish being back over 2m and he’s pretty versatile ground wise, so although he won at Haydock on very quick ground, he’d handle it just as well if it gets very testing here with all the rain that is forecast.

I’ve got to say for a horse that won his penultimate start and clearly didn’t stay last time, I was surprised to see him priced up as one of the outsiders of the field. There are horses that finished very close to him at Ascot that are a fraction of his price, so I do think the market might be underestimating him a little bit.

He’s a tough and consistent horse, and if he gets into a good rhythm then I can see him running a big race, the question would just be whether he’s well-handicapped enough to win a race of this nature.

14:46 Ripon – Cast No Shadow

We finally get to see our Coral Racing Club horse making his debut on the track, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him run. He’s shown a good attitude at home, and he certainly hasn’t appeared short of speed, so I’m happy to be starting him off over 5f.

They usually have the stalls against the stands rail on the straight track at Ripon which makes his draw a bit of a disadvantage. He’s drawn in stall one which means he’ll be out in the middle of the track, and you’d just rather them have a bit of company on either side for their first start.

He has a big and balanced stride, so I’m hoping he can handle the undulations of Ripon, but it is one of those tracks that horses either handle or they don’t, and until you try a horse there you just don’t know.

Whatever happens on Saturday, he’ll learn plenty from the experience, and while I wouldn’t expect him to make a winning start, I’d be pleased if he can be competitive and run a race full of promise to give us something to build on.


Hugo Palmer, Coral Racing Ambassador

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