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Palmer positive ahead of Dubawi Legend’s 2000 Guineas challenge

Hugo Palmer is confident Dubawi Legend can give Native Trail a run for his money in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday.

Last season’s champion juvenile and a facile winner of the Craven Stakes over the course and distance earlier in the month, Native Trail is odds-on with some bookmakers to provide trainer Charlie Appleby with a first victory in the Rowley Mile Classic.

Dubawi Legend was only two lengths behind Native Trail when runner-up in the Dewhurst last season, however, and his trainer – who won the 2000 Guineas six years ago with Galileo Gold – believes his latest challenger has what it takes to make his presence felt.

“His turn of foot and his change of gear is what’s exciting about him,” said Palmer.

“On a rating of 115, he was the joint second highest-rated two-year-old in Europe. Galileo Gold at the same stage was rated 110, so he is the best two-year-old I’ve trained without a doubt.

“He only has to improve 10 per cent and we’re right there on the premises.”

Native Trail and Dubawi Legend were among 19 colts to stand their ground at Monday’s confirmation stage, with Appleby also set to saddle Coroebus.

With James Doyle committed to riding him for Godolphin, Palmer has booked Tom Marquand to ride his charge, having been on board for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket earlier in the month.

Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend
Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend (Simon Cooper/PA)

While respectful of the threat posed by Native Trail, Palmer is not frightened of taking him on.

He said: “Native Trail beat a whole lot of maiden winners and horses that were 50-1 for the Guineas in the Craven. At the same time, I don’t think William Buick had to hit him more than once and he beat them three and a half lengths and you don’t know what was there.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty big field on Saturday. There’s 19 left in and you don’t stay in for free, so you must stay in with the thought of you’re going to run.

“I can’t help but think a bigger field will hinder Native Trail as there’ll be some non-stayers stopping in front of him. There’ll be some non-stayers stopping in front of us as well, of course.”

Having only recently moved from Newmarket to Cheshire to replace Tom Dascombe at the helm at Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, Palmer admits it would be a huge boost for the new partnership if they could claim Classic glory this weekend.

He added: “It would be a dream scenario wherever I was training. Even for someone who has won as many of these races as Aidan O’Brien, you only have to look at the raptures of joy when they win a big race.

“Whoever you are and wherever you are, winning these big races is incredibly special, but obviously every race we win this year is incredibly important and every good race we win is doubly important.”

Native Trail and Coroebus are the top two in the market for Saturday’s feature ahead of the O’Brien-trained Luxembourg.

The unbeaten son of Camelot is one of three potential Ballydoyle representatives along with Glounthaune and Point Lonsdale.

Other contenders include Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power, who won two Group Ones last season and made a successful return in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury recently.

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