Chester May Festival: Michael Owen and Hugo Palmer strike on day one with Ever Given as Liverpool stars dream of Dee win | Racing News


Michael Owen says expectations are “high” for his new partnership with trainer Hugo Palmer after Ever Given romped home to give them their first winner together at Chester.

Owen and his former trainer Tom Dascombe were always a force to be reckoned with on the Roodee and upon his appointment, Classic-winner Palmer knew that one of his tasks would be to make sure the team are well represented at the track’s big May meeting.

While Palmer stressed his team would be smaller than normally expected given he has only been at Manor House Stables, near Malpas, a matter of weeks, any nerves would have been calmed by Ever Given’s stylish four-and-three-quarter-length verdict.

Owen told Sky Sports Racing: “We came here with low expectations and only a couple of runners because Hugo has not been at the yard too long so it’s lovely to get one on the board straight away.

“There was never really a moment of worry, it was some performance.

“I’ve not employed a kid, he’s a Classic-winning trainer and has done it for years and years.”

Asked where the yard’s expectations are, Owen replied: “High. Not just this season because this is a long-term thing, we’ve got massive plans.”

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Owen wants his Manor House Stables operation to become one of the most successful yards in the country after hiring Hugo Palmer as his new in-house trainer

Palmer was not only relieved but also slightly surprised that Ever Given won so easily.

“He’d been working well some days and only OK some others – but he’d never worked badly so we weren’t sure what to expect,” he said.

“It has been like that with all the horses we’ve run, though, as I’ve only known them six weeks.

“I’ve been saying to all the owners ‘I think we’re in the right place and I hope we run well and then we’ll make a plan’ and most of them have run well to be fair – but none of them quite as well as him!

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Owner Alan Gray was left in tears after Ffion’s dramatic victory in a photo finish at Chester on day one of the May Festival, live on Sky Sports Racing

“He’s opened up options for the rest of the year. He doesn’t have any entries but if the ground was similar, could he end up going for the Sandy Lane (at Haydock)? I don’t know.

“We’ve quite a few in the same boat with Ebro River, Hierarchy and Flaming Rib and possibly at some stage Dubawi Legend, too, who also might end up being a sprinter. We could be mob-handed in the Haydock Sprint Cup!”

Dream alive for Liverpool stars with Mr McCann

Owen is hoping to give Liverpool supporters another reason to cheer on Thursday, as Mr McCann – owned by James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin and Andy Robertson, as well as Brighton’s Adam Lallana – runs in the Dee Stakes (2.40) live on Sky Sports Racing.

“Obviously the Liverpool lads have had other things on their minds of late, but they have been down the yard to see him recently. I do know that when I was a playing racing was a big release,” said Owen.

Mr McCann, owned by a group of Liverpool players including Jordan Henderson, wins at Haydock
Image:
Mr McCann is owned by a group of Liverpool players including Jordan Henderson

“Now the game is over I’m sure they’ll be tuning in, but with the games coming thick and fast, it’s inevitable they can’t get to the racedays. They have been down to the yard a couple of times and seem like they are enjoying it.

“Just to have a runner in a race like the Dee Stakes with your first horse is some achievement and if he runs well, then the dream is still alive.”





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