Yorkshire Jockeys Horse Racing

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HUGO Palmer believes his exciting prospect, Dubawi Legend, is ready to take the step up into Group company in Wednesday’s Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.

An impressive winner of a Doncaster maiden on debut last month, the unbeaten juvenile is one of nine entries received for the valuable Group 3.

The first of fourteen contests offering a six- figure purse over the four days, the £100,000 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes boasts a roll of honour that includes subsequent Group 1 winners Gear Up and Phoenix Of Spain in recent seasons.

And next week’s renewal promises to unearth another star on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

Palmer landed the first juvenile Group 1 of the European campaign when Ebro River took out the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday and is hoping that Dubawi Legend can also make up into a Pattern-class colt.

He said: “He’s done two proper bits of work since Doncaster and they’ve gone very well.

“Everything has been smooth – he’s trained very well, I think he’s come forward and he’s tightened up a bit. I think there is still a great deal to come for him.

“York is a wonderful track and the Acomb is the most obvious race. It’s the next step and I think he’s ready to take it.”

Sent off the well-supported 11/8 favourite on his racecourse bow, the son of Dubawi produced an electric performance under James Doyle. He quickened five lengths clear in the closing stages and it was this acceleration that caught Palmer’s eye.

He said: “He quickened twice at Doncaster – he quickened to the lead and he quickened again when James got about him. It’s rare for a horse to be able to quicken once. Very rare – I think – for a horse to be able to quicken twice.”

Asked if the performance was what he expected, Palmer continued: “Things can go wrong, of course they can, but it would have been very disappointing had he not won very well on what he had shown us at home.

“He’s always been very natural and has a great turn of foot. Very genuinely, if he wasn’t a Dubawi with a pedigree, he would have been ready to win the Brocklesby. He has been like that from the word go – strong, forward and sharp – and we’ve always liked him very much.

“We thought he might get a chance to start over six furlongs before Ascot, but he managed to give himself a haematoma on his quarters. That held him up for a couple of weeks, which was probably the making of him.”

Looking ahead, Palmer sees Dubawi Legend developing into a miler as a three-year-old.

He said: “He’s a very fast horse with a very quick action and an electric turn of foot. Everything in his pedigree and everything I know about him points to him being a miler and that’s what we’ll be determined for him to be.

“If he starts getting beaten over a mile looking like he wants to go further then of course further is an option, but he looks like an out-and-out miler to me for next year.”

Asked if he could compare Dubawi Legend to Ebro River, who is currently the highest-rated two-year-old in Europe, Palmer replied: “Not really, no. They live next door to each other, but they’ve never worked together and they’re a different colour.

“Dubawi Legend has always been a consummate professional from day one whereas Ebro River has been a work in progress, who has been brilliantly ridden at home and has got better and better with each day, week and start. They’re just different types.”

The opposition in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes could include the Charlie Appleby-trained, Noble Truth, who ran out an impressive winner of a Newmarket maiden on his second start.

He beat Ehraz on that occasion, who subsequently landed an Ascot maiden by four and a quarter lengths. That duo could clash again, with Richard Hannon’s charge also holding an entry in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes.

Palmer has a select team heading to the Knavesmire next week. His other potential runners include Brunnera in the Listed British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes and Power Of States in the £100,000 Clipper Logistics Handicap on Thursday.

Of the progressive Brunnera, who has won two of her three starts this season, Palmer said: “She’s doing really well, is learning to settle and relax, and we’ll see what the Galtres looks like.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 18 August until Saturday 21 August inclusively.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk