Hugo Palmer is concerned Gifted Master may find six furlongs too sharp in his bid to repeat his 2017 triumph in the Betway Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday.
Gifted Master won this race in 2017 and was fifth to stablemate Encrypted last year, with his races exclusively at that distance for some time, but at the age of six, trainer Hugo Palmer feels he may prefer seven furlongs these days.
He has won over that trip in his younger days and shaped encouragingly on his return when second to War Glory on his reappearance a fortnight ago.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to run him. I just put him in to have a look and he came out fairly well, so I thought we had to give it a go,” said Palmer.
“I am concerned that maybe seven furlongs might just be a better trip for him these days. He ran very well two weeks ago. I’m also concerned that as he’s got older, I felt he might need longer between his races, but I’m not in charge of the race programme. He has to fit that.
“They are my two concerns, but he seems in really good spirits since Lingfield the other day and he’s got a bit better draw (eight) this time.
“He was drawn very wide last time – it’s better than 12.”
The widest of stalls will be filled by Group Three-winning sprinter Judicial.
The seven-year-old, trained by Julie Camacho, has limited experience in public on the all-weather and is making his fist visit to Lingfield.
“He’s in good form and we just wanted to try something a little bit different,” said Camacho’s husband and assistant, Steve Brown.
“He’s up a furlong in trip and his draw (12) is not one we’d have chosen, but we’ll go and do our best and we might learn something for the future.
“He might have reached the stage of his life where he might want another furlong.
“We’re pleased with his well-being and we hope he goes well. He acts round Chester, which is a tight left-handed turning track. The theory is there.
“We’ll just have to overcome the draw. We’ll have to have a good think about it. We’ve already started watching old races there to see what the patterns are, so we’ll see what comes.”
Ed Walker has decided to let Maygold take her chance after her intended engagement at Doncaster last weekend, the Wentworth Stakes, was lost to the weather.
“It was a real shame that Doncaster’s meeting was called off as I think Maygold would have loved the conditions there,” said the Upper Lambourn handler.
“She has a very good turn of foot and six furlongs around Lingfield will suit.
“She has won around the course, albeit in much lesser company, and is a filly who has just got better and better with racing.
“She is probably at her best on really soft ground, but this race is worth a shot and we would be very happy if she can get some black type.”
Above The Rest, Corinthia Knight and Stake Acclaim are among other seasoned campaigners in a competitive field.
The British Stallion Studs EBF Gillies Stakes was saved from Doncaster’s programme and trainer Owen Burrows is pleased as the Listed contest gives Ojooba the chance to pick up some black type.
It is likely to be the three-year-old filly’s last race before she is retired to the paddocks.
“She acts on soft ground, so it went against us with Doncaster being off,” said Burrows.
“She’s never run on the all-weather, but as it is Sheikh Hamdan’s policy this is probably her last run and we thought we’d give it a shot and see how she acts on it. I don’t see what she shouldn’t, so it’s fingers crossed really.
“We’ve got nothing to lose. She seems fine and I’m happy with her.”
Richard Fahey admits he would have preferred the race to have been staged at Doncaster as planned, as Eva Maria has yet to run on an all-weather surface.
“She’s progressing and she needs to keep progressing, but we’re happy with her,” said Fahey.
“I’d have preferred it at Doncaster. There’s no reason I should say that, but she’s going into the unknown on the all-weather.”
There are four Irish-trained runners – Aidan O’Brien’s duo of Quote and Simply Beautiful, Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Crotchet and Snapraeceps – and a French raider, Christophe Ferland’s Velma Velento.