Palmer hopes for Home comforts
View from connections ahead of the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Hugo Palmer is very happy with Home Of The Brave
Hugo Palmer reports Home Of The Brave to be in A1 condition as he bids to atone for a narrow defeat at Glorious Goodwood in the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
The four-year-old had to play second fiddle to Dutch Connection in the Lennox Stakes but it was a solid display and a repeat performance would see him go close in his second successive Group Two race.
The only slight caveat is that Palmer would have preferred a longer gap between the two races.
"We normally try to give him a little more time between his runs than this, but the racing programme is such that all these seven-furlong races come in the space of three weeks, so we don't have a lot of choice," said the Newmarket trainer.
"He seems in good form. I'm very happy with him and it's fingers crossed."
Jim Crowley comes in for the mount as Home Of The Brave's regular partner, James Doyle, is serving a suspension and Godolphin's other retained rider, William Buick, will be on his way to Chicago for the Arlington Million.
Crowley said: "I'm really looking forward to it. It's a nice ride to pick up and Hugo's horses have been running well. Hopefully he can win.
"He likes to make the running. Newbury is a nice front-runners' track so hopefully it should suit.
"I've been riding some of Hugo's two-year-olds this year but hopefully Home Of The Brave can give me another winner."
Convey was only beaten a neck by Home Of The Brave in the Group Three Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock in May and gained a well-deserved success in lesser company at Pontefract three weeks ago.
With that win under his belt, connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old are expecting a bold display.
"Convey had a couple of near misses at York and Haydock earlier in the season and won well in a little confidence booster at Pontefract the other day," said Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
"He now has to step back up in class and take on the big boys again, but he is a talented horse and deserves to take his chance in a race like this.
"He has got plenty of speed so the drop back to seven (furlongs) should not be a problem."
Dark Emerald shaped well on his second run back after a winter campaign in Dubai when narrowly beaten in a Newbury handicap under a big weight four weeks ago.
While trainer Brendan Powell accepts his stable stalwart faces a stiff test, he feels he will not let the side down.
"On ratings he's got a bit on his plate, but he loves the track. He ran a great race there last time out and will have improved for the run," said the Hungerford handler.
"It's competitive of course, but I think he'll run a big race and if he ran into a place I'd be delighted.
"Richard Pankhurst just beat us at Haydock a year ago, but we were giving him a lot of weight, though he didn't run that well last time.
"It's a hot race, but he's fit and well and he likes the track and everything."
Golden Steps also has a few pounds to find on ratings as he tackles Pattern company following his victory in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket's July meeting.
However, trainer Marco Botti believes it is worth having a go as several high-profile entries were not declared.
"It will probably be too competitive but we entered him and waited to see how the race shaped up," said the Newmarket handler.
"The field has cut up a little bit and the horse is in good form.
"He won good prize money in the Bunbury Cup, so the owner thought we might as well declare.
"He has a bit to find on the ratings, he's in good form, he likes Newbury and he runs his best races over seven furlongs now.
"He used to be like a sprinter, quite sharp and keen, but this year he's settled better and now gets seven furlongs well as he showed in the Bunbury Cup.
"If he gets into the prize money, we'll be delighted."
Charlie Hills only decided to let Jallota take his chance after the race was re-opened.
"The race re-opened so we had a look at it," said the Lambourn trainer.
"We always had the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes as one of his races but we thought with a small field and the fact that he has run well at Newbury before, we would just take our chance.
"He is in great nick and is probably as well as I've ever had him."