Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer is planning to be well represented on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30, next week with Gifted Master, Gulliver, Never Back Down and Star Archer all on course for the £1-million culmination of a winter of fascinating racing.
Talented sprinters Gifted Master and Gulliver will fly the flag for the stable in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships over six furlongs on Polytrack.
Five-year-old Gifted Master, officially rated 112, guaranteed his place in the line-up with victory in the Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes, a Fast-Track Qualifier, over the course and distance in November. That was the son of Kodiac’s first All-Weather race and he has not run in the meantime.
Gulliver reeled off a hat-trick of wins on the All-Weather in October and November and since then has acquitted himself creditably up in class, gaining a rating of 107. The four-year-old finished a close fifth behind Kachy (Tom Dascombe) in a bunched finish to the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes at Lingfield Park on February 3 and last time out took third in the local G3 Dukhan Sprint at Doha, Qatar, on February 24.
Palmer said today: “Gifted Master and Gulliver are on course for the sprint.
“Gifted Master is top-rated after his win over the course and distance last time out. The handicapper thinks he is the best horse in the race so I am not sure why he isn’t favourite.
“It was always the plan to go straight to Finals Day. He has never had a problem first time up and I wanted to save him for a turf campaign during the summer.
“Michael Hills rode him in his work yesterday morning and said he feels absolutely up to his best.
“Gifted Master is a front runner, whereas Gulliver likes to be held up. Gulliver has really enjoyed running around a bend on the All-Weather this winter.
“One thing for sure is that we won’t be going a crawl in this race and that might just suit Gulliver.”
Gifted Master is 3/1 second favourite with Betway, while Gulliver is priced at 20/1. Kachy, two from two on the All-Weather, leads the market at 5/2, while last year’s victor Kimberella (Richard Fahey) is 7/2 third favourite. A full list of Betway prices can be found here: https://sports.betway.com/en/sports/evt/1753911
Never Back Down is one of the leading contenders for the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships over six furlongs. The son of Kodiac overcame trouble in running to defeat Music Society and likely favourite Corinthia Knight (Archie Watson) in a six-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on December 9 – his All-Weather debut.
Palmer added: “It all worked out well for Never Back Down at Wolverhampton. They went very hard and he finished over the top of them.
“I could almost envisage a similar scenario at Lingfield. They seem to break track records the whole time on Finals Day as there is so much money on offer.
“I hope they go a good gallop as that will suit him, though he will have to improve a few pounds. You never know though, as he is a fresh horse whereas the favourite has had a few runs.”
The 96-rated Star Archer, owned by Khalid Abdullah, has won on two of his three starts during the All-Weather Championships. He was the beaten favourite on his latest outing when third in a 10-furlong handicap on Polytrack at Kempton Park on March 7.
Palmer added: “I will be making an entry or two for Star Archer and, although I would be quite surprised if he got in with a rating of 96. If he got in the (Betway) Easter Classic, he would run.”
The 10-furlong Betway Easter Classic is Britain’s most valuable All-Weather race, with a prize fund of £200,000 and Star Archer is a 12/1 shot with the sponsor
G3 Winter Derby hero Master The World (David Elsworth) heads the betting at 9/2. A full list of Betway prices
can be found here: https://sports.betway.com/en/sports/evt/1753878
Entries for the six championship races on Good Friday, plus the £50,000 Sunbets All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap, will be revealed this Saturday afternoon, March 24.