Galileo Gold’s preference for turning tracks could be key

TRAINER: Hugo Palmer
TRAINER: Hugo Palmer
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Trainer Hugo Palmer has conceded that a dislike for the straight courses may be the reason behind Galileo Gold’s recent struggles over a mile.

The four-year-old could only muster a fifth-placed finish at Saturday’s Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes, where he was 10 lengths behind arch-rival and eventual race winner Ribchester.

That performance at Newbury extended Galileo Gold’s winless run to four starts since he emerged victorious at the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer.

Jockey Frankie Dettori stated the soft ground had not been to the horse’s liking and, while Palmer took that sentiment on board, he also agreed that a turning track could be the key factor.

“It is hard to say what went wrong at the moment,” said Palmer.

“The race did not go as we hoped — we may never know what happened.

“I cannot ask the horse and the jockey felt the ground was too sticky for him.

“But there is certainly an argument from bringing up the track because the turning nature seems to help him.

“It could be part of the problem. He won the Guineas on a straight track, but otherwise his best races have been on a turned track.

“Be that when he won a novice at Haydock or his other big victories, with the exception of the Guineas, he has produced his best on turning tracks.”

Now, the focus is on what Palmer and Galileo Gold’s team intend to do next.

The trainer believes that a trip to Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes is the ‘obvious’ option, while others have tipped a return to action at Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes.

“We could do both, but Ascot seems the obvious race,” he added.

“The good thing about Goodwood is that it is a course he has run so well over before.

“We will need to sit down and talk about it.”

Meanwhile, following Galileo Gold’s latest disappointment, Palmer sanctioned some health checks to be carried out at his Kremlin Cottage Stables.

While not expecting to find anything sinister, after some recent negative results, Palmer wants to be sure there are no underlying issues.

“We are not running tests on the yard to find something, we are just testing each individual before it runs,” he said.

“Normally we would just run them, but we have had a few horses recently run below their best.

“That might be for a whole variety of different reasons, but you do not like to see a pattern like that emerge, so we are being extra cautious to make sure the horses are in full health.”