LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Hugo Palmer can follow in the footsteps of trainers like George Carver, Geoff Wragg and William Haggas if he wins the Epsom Derby at the first attempt with his runner Emissary on Saturday.
The 39-year-old says he has been fortunate in the Derby being postponed from its original June date, because of the coronavirus pandemic, as Emissary would not have been ready.
However, with the benefit of a run at Goodwood in what was only his second race, Palmer told AFP he felt he had come on leaps and bounds.
“It is like waiting for a flower to bloom. You can’t stare at it, you put it in a sunny window and make sure it gets enough water,” he told AFP by phone.
“If Epsom had gone ahead as planned we would have missed the boat.
“That run has brought him forward an enormous amount having been rusty before.”
Palmer said he adheres to the beliefs of Federico Tesio, the legendary Italian breeder, who bred two-time Arc de Triomphe champion Ribot (1955/56), of the prestige of the Derby.
“The Thoroughbred exists because its selection has depended, not on experts, technicians or zoologists, but on a piece of wood: the winning post of the Epsom Derby,” said Palmer citing Tesio word for word.
“If you base your criteria on anything else, you will get something else, not the Thoroughbred.”
Palmer admits the nerves are jangling and every time his phone goes he fears that something has “gone awry” with Emissary.
He says for his stables — which is around 100 strong — it is very exciting to have a contender for the Derby.