'Lifelong dream' achieved as Palmer lands Chester Cup

It was an important victory for trainer Hugo Palmer, as Zoffee landed the 200th running of the Chester Cup on Friday under a strong ride from Harry Davies.

ZOFFEE (white cap) winning the Chester Cup at Chester in England.
ZOFFEE (white cap) winning the Chester Cup at Chester in England. Picture: Getty Images

Hugo Palmer took up the salaried trainer's position at Michael Owen's Manor House Stables, based in Cheshire, in December 2023 and the Chester Cup will be the first big prize coming back to the yard since the new association.

The Chester meeting is a significant fixture in the calendar for all involved and a victory in the race was described as 'a lifelong dream' by Owen, despite Zoffee being owned by Alan Peterson.

Owen said: ""It is pretty much a lifelong dream to win that race and he came second last year.

"I said earlier in the week I think we'd win the big one. He always looks the part and he's a lovely, lovely horse.

"I'm so pleased for the owners and I said to them before the race, 'I know he's your horse, but they are all my horses at Manor House', that is how it feels. Alan (Peterson) has been a great supporter and this horse has always been a yard favourite – he's just the nicest person in the world.

"He was second last year and now he's gone and done it."

Palmer added: "It's the big race in this part of the world and very exciting. We were second last year and third with Rajinsky the year before so we've gone three, two, one in our three years up here.

"He's given him a wonderful ride. I've known Harry a very long time and his mother Angie is my assistant. He's been with me since he was seven so to win this big race for us is fantastic.

"We kept racing ponies for him when we were in Newmarket and he had to stand on a bucket to tack his horses up. He's been riding out for us for a very long time, he's a talented young man and he's going places.

"I'm just delighted and so pleased the Petersons sent him back after the hurdling didn't go well. I'm grateful to Olly Murphy and his team, they've done all the work over the winter and we've only had him back a couple of months.

"We all love this horse and he might not be the highest rated horse in the yard, but he's just the loveliest face, he loves his job and we just love him.

"It's been a tough week, character building!"


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