Dubawi Legend draws positives from Rowley Mile workout

A confidence-boosting racecourse gallop on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile has trainer Hugo Palmer thinking he could have a 2,000 Guineas contender on his hands in Dubawi Legend.

Having moved from the area up to Michael Owen's Manor House Stables, in Cheshire, earlier this year, Palmer sent the Dubami colt back 'home' to give him the chance to experience the famous Newmarket undulations in a Guineas reconnaissance mission.

Now a salaried trainer, Palmer has always spoken very highly of the three-year-old, who was brilliant on debut at Doncaster last year. After a disappointing defeat in York's Acomb, he bounced back in the Dewhurst last October, when runner-up behind the 2,000 Guineas market leader, Native Trail.

You can probably put a line through his performance in the Breeders' Cup, when he ran no sort of race but it's all systems go for the Guineas after his positive workout.

"That was just what we wanted - a really solid piece of work," said Palmer.

"Michael Hills, who rode Power Of States, said he was flat out from the three (furlong marker) and that was exactly what we wanted him to do to really, draw the three-year-old into the work, which he did."

With James Doyle, who was on board on each of Dubawi Legend's four starts as a juvenile, expected to be required to ride for Charlie Appleby in the season's first Classic, the presence of Tom Marquand in the saddle for the Rowley Mile spin was probably significant.

Palmer added: "Tom said he was beautifully relaxed, really switched off in behind and finished very well.

"Tom came and rode him at Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago and we were happy with him that day, but he said he's stepped forward massively from Wolverhampton to here, which is what you want them to do.

"We're 18 or 19 days out now and bang on track. We're not there yet, but today isn't Guineas day, Tom was very happy with him and I couldn't be happier as a result.

"I think Tom would love to ride him in the Guineas from the way he was talking there, but he's got commitments elsewhere and there's an awful lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and then.

"If for whatever reason Charlie Appleby only ran one, then James Doyle would become available and he's James's ride first and foremost.

"I just felt it was good for Tom to have another feel of him today in case it went that way."

It is six years since Palmer won the Guineas with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Galileo Gold, who also had a racecourse gallop before his Classic success rather than running in a trial.

"I can't remember how many I've run in the Guineas, but every horse I've ran in a trial has been a disaster in the Guineas and the only horse that went straight to the Guineas won," said Palmer.

"Can lightning strike twice? I don't know, (but) he doesn't need to improve much to be right on the premises this horse and I'm very happy that he's improved a great deal.

"He's the best two-year-old I've ever had, but he still wasn't good enough to be champion two-year-old, so we'll see."

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