Watson idea pays off as Hugo Palmer scores with first runner on French Riviera

Hugo Palmer struck with his first ever runner at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in France on Saturday when Collide defied an outside draw to land the Listed Grand Prix Departement under Jason Watson.

The half-length victory was also a first ride of the year in Europe for former champion apprentice Watson, who is back in action domestically on Monday.

A brother to last year's St Leger winner Logician, Collide was recording his first black type success and did things the hard way when circling his ten rivals to battle home from outsider Hipodamo De Mileto.

Palmer said: "I'm thrilled with the victory of Collide for owner Khalid Abdullah and there were two impressive things about the performance. Firstly, the way Collide battled home and secondly the ride that Jason Watson gave him.

"I wasn't at the course but he rang me whilst he was walking the track before racing and said that the inside was very chewed up and would it be okay if he stayed wide. I don't know how much ground Jason gave away as I'm not much of a mathematician but his idea paid off and shows what a professional he is."

How Collide came to be running in the south of France is related to missing out on a target even further afield later this month. Palmer said: "Plan A was to run him in the valuable handicap in Saudi Arabia on February 29 but he didn't get in having only a mark of 98.

"He's a black type winner now and we'll think about targets here for him in April and beyond such as the John Porter Stakes at Newbury. More immediately, he'll go into quarantine for a spell when he gets back."