Sunday 22 April 2018

Palmer's star poised to strike Gold yet again

Frankie Dettori riding Galileo Gold to victory in the 2000 Guineas (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Frankie Dettori riding Galileo Gold to victory in the 2000 Guineas (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Wayne Bailey

Apparently, the word 'boffin' has only been in popular use since the 1940s, and the etymology of the term is somewhat uncertain.

Some believe it comes from a Charles Dickens character named Nicodemus Boffin in the novel Our Mutual Friend. Boffin was an intelligent bloke who was described as "a very odd looking fellow indeed".

Others say that the term relates to the technical experts who worked on radar during World War II. It's been suggested that one of the team on the British side had the surname Boffin, and that the group somehow became known as the Boffins.

A few days, after Galileo Gold won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, we learned that the so-called boffins in University College Dublin had carried out Equinome speed gene tests on the Hugo Palmer-trained colt and declared him to be a CC.

To you and I, that means that the chances of a mile and a half being his optimum trip are less than 1pc, that is if the boffins are to be believed, of course.

Based on the data from UCD, Palmer has decided not to run Galileo Gold in the Derby, and I've heard quite a few people criticise the decision, saying it takes away some of the magic, mystery and the element of chance from the sport.

Owner Sheikh Joaan originally said they'd keep their options open but Palmer ruled him out of the Epsom classic once and for all yesterday.

I don't have a strong view on it and I guess owners and trainers are free to use whatever methods they see fit when deciding what path to take - although some of the best racing stories through the years involve horses which triumphed against the odds.

Palmer has said that the "priority is now to cement his position as a superstar miler", and the next step is the Irish 2,000 Guineas (5.40 Curragh), for which he was available at 7/4 yesterday.

Anyone that has studied statistics will tell you that small sample sizes are to be treated with caution but it's hard not to be impressed with Palmer's strike rate in Ireland of 40pc, with two wins from five runners.

Furthermore, both those wins came at the Curragh and you'd have to fancy Galileo Gold this afternoon; a horse he reports as being in exceptional order at home since Newmarket.

Although going off as high as 14/1 in the English classic, his win was certainly no fluke and Palmer has a star on his hands.

The big question though, is what sort of shape Air Force Blue is in following a disastrous Guineas in which he finished second last.

I was one of those hapless individuals who got caught in the hype and lost a small fortune on the day. Beforehand, O'Brien had said he was one of the best he'd ever trained so it was understandable to see him go off at 4/5 - although in retrospect, it's easy to question a few things.

For a start, he was wearing a tongue strap for the first time which was a possible warning sign, and it's interesting to see that it's been removed for today.

There were also questions about his ability to step up in trip although his pedigree suggests he should get a mile handy enough.

But overall, there's no real excuse for his poor showing and those that are keeping the faith will have to put it down to a simple off-day, which happens to lots of horses now and then.

It certainly makes for a fascinating race, although it's unfortunate that it competes for TV space with the FA Cup final.

At Haydock, I'm surprised to see Interception chalked up as high as 5/2 in the early markets for the Listed Fillies' EBF Stallions Cecil Frail Stakes (3.40).

The David Lanigan-trained mare is the oldest horse in the 11-runner field, aged six, but she put in some good shifts last season, winning the Wokingham Stakes along the way at Royal Ascot.

Her mid-division placing in the Group One British Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot is overlooked as jockey George Baker left it late to make a move.


Expected to go off around 6/1, Oh This Is Us looks an each-way steal in the Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Stakes Handicap at Goodwood (3.25).

Talented jockey Tom Marquand claims 3lbs on the Richard Hannon-trained colt which races off a mark of 86, having won two handicaps in as many starts this term.

The manner in which he overcame trouble in-running to quicken up and win quite easily at Newmarket suggests there is plenty more to come, and he's one to watch over the coming season.

Today's selections

2.50 Goodwood: Mount Logan

3.25 Goodwood: Oh This Is Us (e/w)

3.40 Haydock: Interception

4.10 Haydock: Muthmir

5.40 Curragh: Galieo Gold

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