HUGO PALMER has made rapid strides since taking out a trainers licence for the first time in 2011 and reached another pinnacle when Galileo Gold provided him with a first domestic Classic success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket at the end of last month.
All roads lead to the Curragh this weekend, where Palmer gained first Classic success when Covert Love landed the Darley Irish Oaks last July, as Galileo Gold looks to emulate Cockney Rebel who was the last Newmarket trained horse to complete that illustrious double in 2007.
There was further Group 1 glory for the aforementioned Covert Love in the Prix de L'Opera at Lonchamp last October and she is one of the stars of an attractive team of older horses who will be plying their trade again this season.
The three-year-old division is obviously headed by the 2000 Guineas winners but with the likes of Gifted Master and Hawksmoor plus several other emerging talents there are plenty of other exciting days ahead for the Kremlin Cottages stables trainer.
Hugo kindly guided Tony Elves of ATR through some of those he hopes can make names for themselves this season.
7 b g Dansili - Lady Elgar
Winner of three of his 17 starts. Came closest to victory last season when beaten only three quarters of a length by Hathal in a listed event at Newbury (7f) in September. Currently rated 110.
"He has had a slight setback but is back in ridden exercise now. He is a hugely talented horse but was frustrating last year but I think there's a big day in him when he gets cut in the ground."
5 ch g Exceed And Excel - Chanterelle
Winner of four of his 17 starts. Unplaced in six outing last term Currently rated 87.
"Again, he was a frustrating horse and we believed he was a well handicapped horse off 99. He got nowhere near that form last year but he's a lovely horse and in great shape. He wants top of the ground and I hope he can rediscover his top form this year."
4 b f Azamour - Wing Stealth
Winner of five of his 8 starts. Winner of the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh (1m 4f) in July (beating Jack Naylor a length and three quarters) and the Prix de L'Opera at Longchamp (1m 2f) in October (scored by a head from Jazzi Top). Also beaten only a neck by Pleascach in the Yorkshire Oaks at York (1m 4f) in August. Currently rated 116.
"She is in exceptional form and missed her intended reappearance with some puss in her foot. She is on track for the Prince of Wales's at Royal Ascot and how she runs there will determine how we go for the rest of the year. She is a fast ground filly and a Group 1 winner of ten and twelve furlongs and all those tops races will be open to her both here, Europe and the rest of the world."
HOME OF THE BRAVE
4 ch c Starspangledbanner - Blissful Beat
Winner of three of his 9 starts. Made an impressive reappearance in a listed contest at Leicester (7f) in April when beating Coulsty two and a half lengths. Currently rated 115.
"We didn't declare him in the Lockinge as he wants top of the ground and he will go to the John O'Gaunt at Haydock on Saturday week. He may then go for the Queen Anne for which he will need supplementing but failing that we will look around the world and quite possibly America and we will look at all the Grade 1 mile races there."
4 ch g Notnowcato - Watchoverme
Winner of two of his 8 starts. Impressive five length victor from Hernandoshideaway at Chester (1m 4 1/2f) in May of last year off a mark of 81 and beaten only a head by Polarisation in the Melrose Handicap at York (1m 6f) in August off a mark of 91. Currently rated 95.
"He is a soft ground horse who has grown again over the winter and I very much hope he will have the opportunity to make into an Ebor horse provided we get the ground when it comes."
4 ch g Lope De Vega - Appetina
Winner of one of his 6 starts. Started 7-2 favourite when only eighth of 13, beaten six and three quarter lengths, to Nayel at York (1m 2 1/2f) last week off his current mark of 98.
"He was badly in need of his reappearance at York but ran well for a long way in a race which didn't work out for him. He has come out of it in great shape and all being well he will head for the Wolferton at Royal Ascot."
4 br g Aqlaam - Wunders Dream
Winner of one of his 12 starts. Has run well both outings this term and finished third, beaten only two lengths, to Azraff at Newbury (1m) on Saturday off his current mark of 89.
"He is Galileo Gold's lead horse and he ran well at Newbury on Saturday. When things go right for him I think he will be a winner off his mark but his priority is looking after Galileo Gold."
4 b f Azamour - Blinking
Winner of one of her 13 starts. Ran well on her reappearance in a listed contest at Goodwood (1m 4f) in April when third, beaten three and a half lengths, to Carnachy. Currently rated 97.
"She stayed in training this year and is twice listed placed and we are desperate to win one with her. She has done all her work with Covert Love and I think there's enough ability there to do so."
4 b g Rock of Gibraltar - Serena's Storm
Winner of his three starts to date. Successful in a bumper at Huntingdon in October, a maiden at Wolverhampton in February and beat Priors Green three quarters of a length off a mark of 77 in a handicap at Windsor (1m 3 1/2f) this month. Currently rated 82.
"He remains unbeaten and will run at York this weekend and then we might possibly go to Belmont for the Belmont Gold Cup over two miles. He is a lovely horse and has just taken time to come to himself."
b f Zoffany - Brigayev
Winner of one of her 3 starts. Beaten only a neck by Seventh Heaven on her reappearance in the Listed Oaks Trial at Lingfield (1m 3 1/2f) this month. Currently rated 97.
"She will head towards the Oaks. I was very pleased with her reappearance in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield and she had come on at ton for that outing. She is going to take her chance in the Oaks and think the track at Epsom will suit her."
b g Smart Strike - Beyond Our Reach
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Off the mark at Lingfield (1m) on Tuesday when making all to beat Raven's Tower a head.
"He's now a winner and will go handicapping. He might be a Britannia horse but will need to keep improving. He's by Smart Strike and Ryan (Moore) said he will stay further. His best horse as far as I know, English Channel, won over a mile and a half and he may prove better over further in time."
b c Rock Of Gibraltar - Splashdown
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Unplaced in a handicap won by Taurean Star at Ascot (1m) this month off his current mark of 82.
"The ground was too fast for him on his reappearance at Ascot and he is nice horse. He is brother to Aktabantay and he's not as good as him but there will be a handicap for him somewhere in the Summer with a bit of cut in the ground."
b f Mastercraftsman - Dama's
No wins from 3 starts. Best effort when beaten only a head by Bombilate at Wolverhampton (1m 1/2f) in April. Currently rated 75.
"The ground was too soft for her at Salisbury last time but she's qualified for a mark now and we will just decide whether to run her in another maiden or in a handicap. She is a nice filly and if she can win we might think of throwing her into a listed race somewhere."
b c Sea The Stars - Unity
"He is a beautifully bred son of Sea The Stars and he had an injury last year which is why he didn't run. His work beforehand had been exciting but when they are coming back from an injury you just don't know whether they are going to hold together or not. He is cantering nicely now and we dream if everything goes well that he could be a St Leger horse come the end of the year."
b f Lope De Vega - Takizada
Winner of her only start. Scored by two and three quarters of a length from Sovereign Parade at Salisbury (1m 2f) this month.
"She is a very nice filly who stays a mile and a quarter well. She has stacks of ability but wouldn't want the ground too fast being by Lope De Vega. I hope she will be a stakes filly by the end of the year."
ch c Paco Boy - Galicuix
Winner of four of his 6 starts. Impressive length and a half winner from Massaat in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on his reappearance at Newmarket (1m) at the end of April. Currently rated 120.
"He goes for the Irish 2000 Guineas on Saturday and his work last Friday was lovely. We will see where go from there but at this stage I would be favouring the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot."
b g High Chaparral - Diara Angel
Placed in two of his 3 starts. Currently rated 72.
"He is a progressive horse. He was backward last year and is gelded now and I think that on fast ground over a mile and a half he can prove himself to be well handicapped as the year goes on."
b g Kodiac - Shobobb
Winner of six of his 8 starts. Maintained his impressive winning sequence when scoring by two and a quarter lengths from Dream Dubai in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot (6f) in April. Currently rated 115.
"He is just a revelation and is unbeaten since he was gelded. He will most likely go to Haydock on May 28 and then Ascot for the Commonwealth Cup. That said I don't really think he's a sprinter - he is just fast enough to win a Group 3 over six but has also won a Group 3 over a mile. He is very versatile and very capable."
b g Poet's Voice - Poppo's Song
No wins from five starts. Beaten only a length and a half by Recognition on his reappearance at Lingfield (1m 4f) in April off a mark of 65, and finished third behind Tartan Bute at Wetherby in May. Currently rated 67.
"Finished third at Wetherby on Tuesday and he stays very well. He is a nice staying handicapper and I expect he should be able to win plenty of races over a mile and a half to a mile and six furlongs."
b g Cockney Rebel - Nine Red
Winner of one of his 4 starts. Off the mark at Wolverhampton (7f) in December when beating Broughton Fancy two lengths. Currently rated 81,
"He has been gelded since he was beaten on his handicap debut and he's a bony horse who hasn't grown a lot but should win in his turn."
b f Azamour - Bridal Dance
Winner of two of her 6 starts. Highly encouraging reappearance in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville on Monday when third, beaten only a length and a quarter, to Jemayel. Currently rated 105.
"She has done well over the winter and ran a cracking race in the Prix Saint-Alary. We shall see how she is on her return and will check our options but she looks in store for a productive season."
b g Lawman - Dievotchkina
Unplaced on his debut in a maiden at Newmarket (1m 2f) this month.
"He probably wants two miles and it has taken a long time to get him fit. As time goes on his could prove an enjoyable stayer."
b c Lope De Vega - Danielli
Winner of one of his 5 starts. Scored in good style by three and a quarter lengths fro Across The Stars at Nottingham (1m 1/2f) last October. Unplaced in two starts at Newmarket this Spring. Currently rated 90.
"He has been frustrating so far but I like the way he goes. He is beautifully bred, enormous, and we won't be giving up on him in a hurry."
b c Raven's Pass - Lady Elgar
Winner of two of his three starts. Scored by a neck from Nimr in a highly competitive handicap at Doncaster (1m) on Saturday off his current mark of 87.
"He won a good looking handicap at Doncaster on Saturday night and we hope he is going to be a Britannia Handicap horse."
ch f Shamardal - Neshla
Winner of one of her 3 starts. Off the mark with a length defeat of Percy's Romance at Kempton (1m) in October. Well beaten on reappearance at Doncaster off a mark of 77. Currently rated 75.
"She has been very disappointing and we thought she had the potential to be anything. She disappointed me on her reappearance at Doncaster and we have a bit of work to do at the moment but fillies do take time to come to themselves."
b c Champs Elysees - Belgooree
Placed in all three starts. Finished runner-up, beaten a length and a half to Central Square at Windsor (1m 2f) on his reappearance this month. Currently rated 85.
"I think he just met one at Windsor the other day and I think a maiden is well within his grasp and all being well he could be a King George V Handicap horse at the Royal meeting. He stays well and is a nice horse."
b f Motivator - Bolsena
Winner of one of her 7 starts. Unplaced in listed events at York (1m) and Newmarket (1m 2f) this month. Currently rated 81.
"If she was a gelding you would say she would be an entertaining handicapper but there wouldn't be a lot of point in handicapping with fillies. We will continue to try and find black type with her as she's a winner with a pedigree."
b c Acclamation - Paracel
Placed in three outings. Finished third, beaten only a length and a quarter, to Muzdawaj on his reappearance at Wolverhampton (1m 1/2f) in April. Currently rated 78.
"He is a winner waiting to happen and I think he can be placed to good effect in 0-85 over a mile and a quarter. We may go to Haydock on May 28. He's a nice horse and he's genuine."
THEY SEEK HIM HERE
b c Elusive Pimpernel - Spiritville
Winner of one of his 3 starts. A winner at Kempton (7f) on his debut last June and finished fourth in Group event at Newmarket in July (beaten three and a half lengths by Birchwood) and Sandown in August (beaten three lengths by First Selection). Currently rated 101.
"He's a lovely horse and he did well at two when he reach a rating of 101. He took awhile to come to himself this Spring but we are going to head towards the Royal meeting with him. Probably the King George V Handicap and possibly the Tercentenary depending on his work."
TO BE WILD
br c Big Bad Bob - Fire Up
Finished fifth to Mustajeer on his only start at Newmarket (1m) in September.
"He is in the same bracket as Crimean Tatar and he is a really powerful well bred good looking colt. We once hoped he would be a Derby horse but he had a little injury over the Winter. He probably won't see a racecourse until July but he might be a Leger horse if things go the right way."
WALL OF FIRE
b c Canford Cliffs - Bright Sapphire
Winner of one of his 2 starts. Scored by three quarters of a length from Justice Law at Ascot (6f) last July, and made his debut for us when well behind at Newcastle. Currently rated 92.
"He made his debut for us at Newcastle on Tuesday when well beaten at Newcastle and I would say he hasn't grown a lot over the Winter. He doesn't seem well handicapped off 92 but will hopefully head to the Britannia."
WE ARE NINETY
b f Thewayyouare - Brigids Cross
Winner of three of her 4 starts. Landed the Listed Fillies Trial at Newbury (1m 2f) on Saturday by a neck from Beautiful Morning. Currently rated 98.
"She won a maiden and a handicap and stepped up on that form at Newbury last Saturday when winning a listed event. She is progressing with experience and it was great to get winning black type with her."
b g Kodiac - Zonic
Winner of one of her 4 starts. Finished third, beaten three and a half lengths, to Folkswood on her reappearance at Newmarket in April off her current mark of 89.
"He's a Britannia horse all over and goes to the Silver Bowl at Haydock. He should have won at Newmarket but was given a moderate ride. I think he's potentially well-treated off 89 and is an exciting horse who could eventually end up in Hong Kong."
b f Teofilo - Mazaaya
"She is gorgeous looking and rangy and will run soon. I think she will only improve with time."
COVERT LOVE - improved dramatically as a three-year-old and there is no reason why she should be in for another stellar season in top middle distance events again.
HOME OF THE BRAVE - looked better than ever when winning on his reappearance at Leicester and more wins to come starting off with the John O'Gaunt Stakes.
WALPOLE - exciting prospect who is improving with every run and plenty more to offer.
GALILEO GOLD - comfortable winner of the 2000 Guineas and fancied to double up in Ireland this weekend.
GIFTED MASTER - unbeaten since he was gelded and looks class through and through.
MURAD KHAN - winner of a tough looking handicap at Doncaster on Saturday night and the sort to progress further.