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Dubawi Legend could head to France following Guineas disappointment

Hugo Palmer is thinking of dropping Dubawi Legend back in trip following his disappointing showing in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

The Dewhurst runner-up raced too freely during the mile Classic and came home last of the 15-runner field to leave Palmer both disappointed and scratching his head.

“It was terribly disappointing because he didn’t run his race in any way. It’s almost like he panics and forgets to breathe,” said the trainer.

Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2021 – Juddmonte International – York Racecourse
Dubawi Legend (right) finishing third in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York last year (Nigel French/PA)

“He’s such a relaxed horse at home and if you hadn’t seen that happen in a race you would say his strongest suit is his mind because he’s got such a good mind at home. Tom (Marquand) said he went to post in a relaxed fashion and in all his home work, even when he went for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket and Wolverhampton, he switches off so beautifully well.

“But he was aggressive in the Dewhurst, he was aggressive in America and he was aggressive in the Guineas and he was also quite aggressive in the Acomb, so it’s sort of at least three times if not four times we’ve seen it now.

“It’s frustrating and it is something we need to try and resolve and I think the next time he races he will wear a hood and hopefully that might help him relax. He ran very well in the Dewhurst behind the Guineas second and he made the running that day and I think we might just have to make the running with him going forward.”

A trip across the channel could now be on the cards for the three-year-old with ParisLongchamp’s Listed Prix De Pontarme on May 26 an option, and the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot also entering calculations for later in the summer.

“There’s a race at Longchamp on May 26, a seven-furlong Listed race for three-year-olds only, so I thought we might go there and if he could win that he might be a horse for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot,” Palmer continued.

“I think we have to drop in trip and in grade. I joked on Sunday morning that before they changed the rules three years ago I would have run him in a novice race under a penalty off 115 and just get him some confidence, but quite rightly you can’t do that anymore, so I think the Listed race is the lowest grade I can find for him at the moment.”

Palmer, who has recently taken over the training duties at Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, also concedes Dubawi Legend may well end up as a sprinter, but refuses to give up hope he can be a top-class operator for the Classic-winning handler.

“He may be a sprinter, he’s a very fast horse, we may come back to six furlongs with him. But I think if we go straight to six and he’s not a sprinter we’d never get him back,” added Palmer.

“We’re on a rescue mission because it went very badly wrong on Saturday. Although in many ways it is less depressing that he just didn’t run his race than it would be if he was simply not good enough. If he finished eighth and just wasn’t good enough I would be really gutted, but hopefully we can find the key to him, it was only his fifth start and he’s still a young horse.”

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