Palmer’s first wish was fulfilled when 8mm of rain tumbled down in the town late on Thursday evening which eased the ground to good to soft from good to boost the hopes of the son of Paco Boy.
Galileo Gold carried the colours of local owner Colin Murfitt when beating the Hayadh a length-and-a-quarter in a seven-furlong novice event at Haydock last July, before being sold for a sizeable undisclosed sum to Al Shaqab Racing and the investment had an immediate and appropriate return when he followed up with a three-quarter length defeat of Ibn Malilk in the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood at the end of that month.
Ibn Malik didn’t do that form any harm when hacking up in the Free Handicap at the Craven meeting under 9st 6lb and Galileo Gold showed he was continuing to progress when only a length-and-a-quarter third to Ultra in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over a mile at Longchamp in October where the favourite Johannes Vermeer was a neck behind.
That piece of form points you in the direction that Galileo Gold is a solid each-way chance at 12-1 as Johannes Vermeer was a head in front of Stormy Antarctic when the pair finished first and second in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in November and the Craven winner is currently, generally half the odds of the selection.
Further encouragement was gleaned in midweek when Gilded Master gave weight and a sound beating to some smart rivals in the Listed Pavilion Stakes at Ascot as that horse has finished well adrift of Galileo Gold in their meetings on the Newmarket gallops this Spring.
Palmer has his team in full flight at the right time and, although Dewhurst winner Air Force Blue quite right heads the market after his three and a quarter length defeat of Massaat at Newmarket last October, it is is slight perplexing that the market leader wears a tongue tie for his first attempt at a mile and Galileo Gold looks just the sort of tough cookie to unveil any cracks in his armour and fulfil Palmer’s second wish.
Whatever the fate of Air Force Blue, the Aidan O’Brien team should not be opposed in the Qipco 1000 Guineas on Sunday where Minding simply has an outstanding chance of providing the Ballydoyle maestro with a third triumph in the race.
Minding did nothing but improve with experience last season and her four and a half length defeat of Nathra looks by the far the strongest form in the race. The runner-up went onto win the Nell Gwyn Stakes at the Craven meeting and sixth, Dawn of Hope, landed a decent contest at Ascot in midweek.
Minding has been powering up the gallops this Spring and it will be a major shock if she is beaten. Those looking for a little each way value could well side with Lumiere who has been burning up the Middleham gallops but could have, unfortunately, been born in a year when a real superstar is in our midst.
Ed Dunlop’s team have made a healthy start to the year and there are plenty waiting to unload on Global Applause in the Hot Streak Future Stars Maiden.
The Mayson colt has been shaping very encouragingly in his home work and the fact the Dunlop has snapped up the services of Ryan Moore suggest that the La Grange Stable trainer will afterwards be contemplating a trip to Royal Ascot in June.