Horse Talk with Simon Jackson: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
HUGO PALMER is going to take it “one race at a time” with Galileo Gold who is set to return in the £350,000 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, at Newbury on Saturday, May 20.
Palmer landed the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot with the colt who is owned by Lockinge sponsors Al Shaqab Racing and ridden by their retained jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode him in all of his six starts last season.
The three-year-old year commenced with the Guineas win on April 30 and ended with a fifth place in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on October 15; in a high-profile campaign that included second places in the Tattersals Irish 2000 Guineas and Qatar Sussex Stakes.
Galileo Gold has impressed in training in recent weeks and connections admit they are nervously counting down the days to his seasonal comeback.
“Galileo Gold is absolutely there within himself and all we have to do now is nervously tick him over into the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes in just under four weeks’ time,” Palmer said earlier this week.
“All his really serious work is done and we took him for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last Thursday.
“Last year, we ran him three times quickly at the start of the season and it was then quite a struggle to get him to Goodwood absolutely spot-on and I will always have a tiny suspicion that he wasn’t quite at his peak [when beaten by a neck at Goodwood].
“But he wasn’t beaten very far and I regret now taking him to France [eighth at Deauville in August] so hot on the heels of that run. The horse did not have the time to relax and it buzzed him up and he never really calmed down for the rest of the year.
“Galileo Gold had a lovely break over the winter and has settled down an enormous amount. Through December and January, when he came back into work, he was leading yearlings up Warren Hill which he would not have done before. It was wonderful to see.
“He would not have led his own generation of yearlings three years ago. Galileo Gold had to lead his lead horse the other day because the lead horse was playing up. He has just grown up.
“The piece of work Galileo Gold did on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket Racecourse could not have gone better. He is totally versatile as far as the ground is concerned.
“He got himself very wound up towards the end of last year with the fairly relentless racing programme I had given him. All the signs are, having had a proper break, and being a year older and more mature, he has settled down.
“I don’t see the Lockinge being run at a crawl. After the Al Shaqab Lockinge, he will go for the Queen Anne Stakes and Qatar Sussex Stakes and then we will take a view. But we will take it one race at a time.”
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