Palmer to continue his love story with gutsy filly Covert

Bill Esdaile
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Covert Love gave Hugo Palmer his first Group One win in last month’s Irish Oaks

THE weather gods haven’t exactly shined on the Knavesmire so far this week. We were all expecting a dry few days, but it bucketed down on Tuesday night resulting in good to soft ground for the start of the meeting.

It’s difficult to know exactly how the course will ride this afternoon where the highlight is the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (3.40pm). I’m expecting conditions to be just on the slow side of good and that should be fine for Hugo Palmer’s COVERT LOVE.

The daughter of Azamour was a fairly comfortable winner of last month’s Irish Oaks on good to yielding, where she had a number of today’s rivals behind her.

That win gave young trainer Palmer his first Group One success and he looks set to land his first top level prize on home soil this afternoon.

Covert Love won a lowly maiden at Chelmsford on her seasonal debut in May before embarking on an astonishing rise up the ratings.

A winner of a York handicap off just 83 in late May, she is now rated 115 and is probably the best middle distance filly of her generation in Europe.

The only slight worry is that Palmer’s yard has been a little quiet of late. He hasn’t had a winner yet this month, although he’s still operating at a strike-rate of just under 20% for the season.

Connections wouldn’t have stumped up the extra cash to supplement her if she wasn’t at the top of her game, though, and she looks to have too much for the likes of Curvy, Jack Naylor and Pleascach.

Covert Love is the only filly in the field who doesn’t really have any serious questions to answer and I expected her to be shorter than the 10/3 available with Betway.

At the start of today’s proceedings, TASLEET looks a very likely winner of the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes (1.55pm) and can be backed at 7/4 with Betway.

Although plenty of his rivals are open to improvement, my selection is head and shoulders above this field.

Tasleet caught the eye at Newbury when landing a Listed contest last month. The son of Showcasing displayed plenty of ability to get his nose in front having been bumped around in the final furlong.

He stepped up on that to finish second to Shalaa, who looks certain to be a Group One performer going forward, in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and will find today’s Class Two contest much easier.

In a big sales race there’s always the chance that one or two will find significant improvement. I’ll also be keeping an eye on General Alexander who had no chance from a wide draw at Chester but could well outrun his odds of 66/1 here.

▀ Pointers…
TASLEET 1.55pm York
COVERT LOVE 3.40pm York