Hugo Palmer insists Dubawi Legend is “bang on track” for the first Classic of the season, the Group One QIPCO 2000 Guineas (Saturday 30th April), after impressing in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket before racing today.
Last season’s Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes runner-up, who is a general 20-1 chance for the mile Classic at Newmarket later this month, warmed up for his eagerly-awaited seasonal return when participating in the exercise alongside stablemates Power Of States and Battered.
Working over a mile, Dubawi Legend readily drew clear of his two companions before crossing the line with around five lengths to spare under jockey Tom Marquand.
Palmer, who has recently moved from Newmarket to Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables in Cheshire, hopes Dubawi Legend can now follow in the hoofprints of Galileo Gold, who participated in a similar exercise before winning the 2016 2000 Guineas.
The trainer said: “That was just what we wanted. It was a really solid piece of work. Michael Hills who rode Power Of States said he was flat out from the three which is what we wanted him to do and really draw the three year old into the work which he did.
“Tom said he was beautifully relaxed and that he was switched off in behind and finished really well. Tom said he would have no qualms about him staying the mile and that he felt great.
“Tom came and rode him at Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago. We were happy with him a couple of weeks ago and we were happy with him that day, but he has stepped forward massively from that day to here – which is what you want them to do.
“We are 18/19 days out now and we are bang on track. He is not there yet but today is not Guineas day. Tom was happy with him, and I couldn’t be happier as a result.
“I can’t remember how many we have run in the Guineas but Home Of The Brave won his trial then got beat in the Guineas. Set Piece got beat in his trial and in the Guineas. Every horse I’ve run in a trial has been a disaster and the only horse that I’ve gone straight to the Guineas has won. Can lightning strike twice? I don’t know. He doesn’t need to improve much to be on the premises.”
With Dubawi Legend’s regular rider James Doyle likely to be claimed by Godolphin it leaves the ride aboard Dubawi colt open for Marquand, however Palmer feels he may have to look elsewhere for a rider.
He added: “I think Tom would love to ride him in the Guineas the way he was talking there but he has got commitments elsewhere. There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and then. Equally, if for whatever reason Charlie Appleby only ran one in the Guineas and James Doyle became available then he is James’ ride first and foremost. James has sat on him lots and it was good for Tom to sit on him today and have another feel. It could be an opportunity if we are looking for someone else.”
Although Dubawi Legend failed to make an impact in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on his final start last year, Palmer feels the trip to America still had a positive effect.
He said: “I’m very happy with how he has wintered and he is a very straightforward horse. I think his trip to the Breeders’ Cup while it was an absolute disaster. He had a wide draw and tongue over the bit and all that, but I think going to the Breeders’ Cup is like a little bit of a gap year for a two year old. They can find themselves a bit and grow up and he had only had three starts before the Breeders’ Cup and having had that fourth start was like having another a three or four. Hopefully he is smart enough and worldly wise enough he can make his presence felt.”
Kevin Ryan stated Triple Time, who signed off last season with victory in the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock Park, is another on target for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas after participating in a seven-furlong solo gallop at the track under Andrea Atzeni.
Ryan said: “He has been away from home at Redcar and I felt it was good to give him a feel of the track down here. He has come from the seven and really quickened into the dip and out of it. He took a fair bit of pulling up. Everything has gone to plan and Andrea (Atzeni) was delighted with him. He is well on target for the big day.
“He is a quick horse and doesn’t need a lead horse. We are not particularly worried about ground conditions with him. The Haydock race was always the plan for him. He was an immature horse and we finished him after that.
“It took him a couple of races to get him sharpened up last season but it was always the plan to come here without a prep.”
Mark Johnston has not ruled out running Royal Patronage in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas after passing his racecourse gallop with flying colours.
The Wootton Bassett colt returned to the scene of his success in last season’s Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge success when comfortably finishing ahead of stablemates I’m A Gambler (Connor Beasley) and Highland Premier (John Egan) in the seven-furlong exercise.
Johnston said: “Whether he is going to the Guineas or straight to the Dante it is still good to have had a racecourse gallop. There was some question to see how much speed he has got.
“They’ve not hung about there and we wanted to see if he could travel comfortably at that pace and Jason (Hart) said he travelled very easily. It was great to have the outing.”
The Jockey Club Press Release