Good Friday at Lingfield Park (above) has become the traditional date for the pinnacle of the British All-Weather season, and this afternoon’s seven-race card offers an impressive total of £1 million in prize money with Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master seeking to land himself a sizeable share of the spoils.
The five-year-old is the highest rated horse in the eight-runner field at 112, meaning he is 2lb and more well in against his rivals, among whom Tom Dascombe’s talented Kachy, and David Evans’ Gracious John, are the next best horses on official figures with ratings of 110.
In other words, Gifted Master, the latest of our free horse racing tips, would be giving weight to all his rivals if this was a handicap, but because this is a conditions stakes, all the runners carry exactly the same weight of 9st5lb. So that’s one reason to believe that Palmer’s admirable gelding should be very much in the thick of the action, but he has also been trained with this specific race in mind for some time.
The winner of nine of his 12 career starts has been a great servant to connections and bounced back to form last season having returned in poor health following a spell competing at Meydan last winter at the Dubai Carnival. Given four months to recover from that experience he soon made up for lost time winning three of his five races, including two listed class events, one of which came over today’s course and distance in November when beating Mythmaker in the Betway Golden Rose Stakes.
“Everyone here has a soft spot for Gifted Master,” admits Palmer, who also saddles the Andrea Atzeni-ridden Gulliver (28/1 with Bet365) in the £150,000 six furlong event. “He nearly died when he came back from Dubai last year which is why he didn’t go back. A repeat of his last run will make him hard to beat. He’s had a break and always goes well fresh.”
Kachy is a top-price 2/1 favourite with Unibet to land the spoils under Richard Kingscote, but Gifted Master, 3/1 with the likes of Ladbrokes and 188Bet looks sure to give a good account of himself under the excellent James Doyle and looks the value in the race. Kimberella, last year’s winner, is 9/2 with MarathonBet, and last year’s runner-up Gracious John (20/1 with SportingBet) will also be trying his luck again.