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12th April 2023 Nottingham

By Graham Clark

Hugo Palmer admitted he might have to re-think his plans for Rajinksy, who he insisted took a ‘hell of a scalp’ when lowering the colours of Trueshan in the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham today to provide jockey Harry Davies with his biggest ever winner.

Leading up to the race all the focus revolved around the intriguing clash between between last year’s winner, and multiple Group One scorer Trueshan, and 2022 Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Mojo Star, before the latter was withdrawn.

Despite the absence of Mojo Star it still left an intriguing field of five going to post, which included 2021 Cesarewitch winner Buzz, who was making his first start in 550 days, however they were all upstaged by the gelded son of Zoffany.

Sent straight into the lead by Davies the 16-1 chance looked to be a sitting duck for 4-9 favourite Trueshan who travelled smoothly into contention under her regular rider Hollie Doyle as the field approached the final three furlongs of the Listed prize.

However, it was not to be for the short-priced market leader as Rajinsky continued to tenaciously battle away under Davies during the closing stages of the one mile six furlong prize before prevailing by half a length.

Palmer, speaking away from the track, said: “That was great and it was not entirely expected as he is still a little bit hairy in his coat and he is carrying a little bit more weight than I wanted him to.

“Plan A was to go for the Chester Cup. I thought if he could run between six to eight lengths behind Trueshan and have a blow that would put him spot on for Chester, but I might have to re-think that plan now.

“He was entered in the Chester Cup this week and the weights come out next week in which time he will be re-assessed.

“I think it is a bit of a leap of faith to say that was the best version of Trueshan but he is still a dual Group One winner and that is a hell of a scalp for our horse to take.”

Assessing future plans Palmer has not ruled out sending Rajinksy back over to France, where he made his Group One debut in the Prix-Royal Oak at Paris-Longchamp in October, when stepping him back up in class.

He added: “Like Trueshan, he is a ground dependant horse and we need to find ground where there is cut in it. I can’t believe there is a huge amount of improvement in him at the age of seven, but he will still be very entertaining for us.

“We took him to France for a Group One last year but that came at the end of a long season and he probably left his effort on the Rowley Mile in the Cesarewitch Trial.

“I think there could be a lot of options for him back in France and it is definitely something we will keep an eye on.”

As for Davies he was thankful of getting the chance to shine back aboard Rajinsky having partnered him to victory in last year’s Turners Cesarewitch Trial Handicap at Newmarket.

He said: “He is a little bit behind in his coat but we thought he would be fit enough today and the opposition was probably the best he has ever faced but he is just improving as he is getting older.

“He is starting to come into himself now and last year we learned an awful lot about him. I know he stays further and he always hits the long strong but when Trueshan came to me he never let me down.

“I’m thankful for the owners and Hugo keeping me on the horse.”

While disappointed to see Trueshan suffer a shock reversal his trainer Alan King admitted that his next outing would reveal a lot more as to where he stands with his star stayer.

King said: “He hasn’t run a bad race but I’m just disappointed. Hollie thought she would win at the three but she knew she was beaten at the two pole.

“I just worry he has had a lot of hard battles and I’m worried it has started to leave his mark on him mentally. I’m not sure where we go now. 

“He has worked awfully well. We don’t weigh them but we had to go for an extra-long girth to get around him today.

“He looked big and powerful. He had a nice blow without being excessive but I’m not going to use that for an excuse.

“The next race will tell us a lot.”

Meanwhile, trainer Nicky Henderson was delighted to see Buzz back on track following a lengthy absence on the sidelines through injury despite the Grade Two-winning hurdler finishing last of the five runners.

He said: “We ummed and arred this morning whether to run him as when it went heavy I got nervous. He has got tired in it or course he has but he has had a nice time and we have got him on a racecourse. If he is okay in the morning then on we go.

“Rossa (Ryan, jockey) said he came onto the bridle turning into the straight following Trueshan then thought ‘oh good’ but then unsurprisingly he got tired.

“We’ve a long way to go but we have got him back on a racecourse. If he is alright in the morning we will be very happy.”

Jockey George Bass thanked trainer Jack Channon for keeping faith in him after steering Sera Dawn, who he described as a ‘filly on the up’ to a career first success in the Darley EBF Novice Stakes.

After finishing second over course and distance last week the daughter of Bated Breath confirmed her superiority over Fair Wind, who was one place behind back in third seven days ago, when prevailing by a head in the five-furlong dash.

Bass said of the 9-2 winner: “She has come on brilliantly. I wanted to get her rolling early enough as I knew she would stay the five furlongs. I knew she would handle the conditions very well and she looks a filly on the up.

“It’s great for the boss to have that little bit of faith in me. It is great to have this opportunity. I rode her last time out and I felt like I got a tune out of her so it is nice he has stuck me back on her.

“I’m delighted for her to get her head in front and for her owners Dave and Gill Hedley who are great supporters of the yard.”


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