Hugo Palmer believes Dubawi Legend is capable of taking the required “step forward” to be competitive against Native Trail in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket after passing a crucial racecourse gallop this morning with flying colours.
The son of Dubawi surrendered his unbeaten record in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York last time out but will bid to get his career back on track in the seven furlong contest when making his first start at Group One level.
In order to warm up for his next assignment a week today, Dubawi Legend participated in a six and a half furlong gallop at the Rowley Mile under Classic winning rider Michael Hills alongside his regular lead horse partnered by work rider Glen McGee.
Moving into the lead during the final quarter of a mile of the exercise, Dubawi Legend only needed to be ridden out with hands and heels by Hills before passing the post several lengths clear of his stable companion.
Native Trail, who is unbeaten in three starts after following up his debut win at Sandown Park and victory in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at the July Course in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh, boasts the stronger form.
However, Newmarket handler Palmer is optimistic Dubawi Legend can make an impact and explained: “He has worked really nicely. The principle reason for coming here was one of the only disappointing bits of work he has ever produced was on the watered gallop, which mirrors the Rowley Mile.
“He hasn’t worked this side of town for quite a while so I was very keen that if we were coming to Newmarket next weekend I wanted to feel the track, so I’m pleased the racecourse allowed us to do that.
“Michael Hills has been riding the horse all year and he was really happy with him. We are jumping up in grade but he hasn’t done anything at home to suggest that we are wrong to.
“Obviously he has to step forward. Native Trail is the top rated two year old in Europe and rightly so but we will give it our best.”
Although initially disappointed with Dubawi Legend’s defeat in the Acomb, where it was later discovered he later scoped dirty following that effort, Palmer is pleased to see the form working out well.
He added: “Noble Truth was behind us and he has since won the Flying Scotsman Stakes and Royal Patronage has come out and won the Royal Lodge.
“We were very disappointed with our horse but he scoped dirty afterwards and he was still only beaten three and a half lengths by the Royal Lodge winner. Even when we didn’t feel he was on his game his form is stacking up and it is really good.”
A number of small hold-ups may have prevented Dubawi Legend from being sighted earlier than his debut success in Doncaster in July, but Palmer believes that taking a patient approach has worked in favour of his rising star.
Palmer said: “He has shown up well all year. He is one of those horses that showed a lot of speed and he could have probably made his debut over five furlongs in the spring if we wanted him to but we backed off him.
“He has had a couple of little hold-ups and every time he has come back from a little break he has come back better.
“He is a relatively fresh horse that has only had two starts and we are looking forward to his next one.”