Palmer may step Ebro River up in trip but warns a mile could be too far

Hugo Palmer: celebrating a first Group 1 win in five years
Hugo Palmer: celebrating a first Group 1 win in five years

Hugo Palmer may step Ebro River up to seven furlongs this season after his thrilling win in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

However, next year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas, for which the colt is available at 20-1, may be a furlong too far, the trainer said on Monday.

Ebro River's all-the-way win under Shane Foley was the first victory at the highest level for Palmer since the juvenile’s own sire Galileo Gold won the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016.

No jet lag for Foley as Ebro River lands first juvenile Group 1 of the season

Palmer, who did not make the trip to Ireland due to problems with flight schedules, was congratulated by many of his training counterparts at first lot on the Newmarket gallops on Monday morning.

He said: "Ebro River won very well from the front in Ireland and I’m thrilled for all of the team at Kremlin Cottage. The way he finished off his race suggests he could get seven furlongs later this year, but he has options at six before then."

Ebro River: could be upped in trip
Ebro River: could be upped in tripCredit: Patrick McCann

Ebro River saw off market principals Dr Zempf and Go Bears Go to extend a remarkable juvenile run of success for Al Shaqab Racing. The Qatari owners also have the Group 2 July Stakes winner Lusail and Group 3 Molecomb Stakes victor Armor, both trained by Richard Hannon.

Palmer added: "The most obvious race would be the Middle Park at Newmarket but the owners may want to keep him and the other two apart.

"There is also the Prix Morny to consider but he shapes as if he’ll get seven furlongs so we could look at the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day."

Ebro River was cut to 20-1 to emulate his sire in next year’s 2,000 Guineas but Palmer is unsure he will get a mile.

He said: "I see Ebro River was cut to fourth favourite for the 2,000 Guineas after his win but I’m not sure he’ll get the trip. We also have Dubawi Legend, who is currently fifth favourite for Newmarket, running in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York next week and he is a colt we’ve always liked."

Phoenix Stakes report and analysis

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David MilnesNewmarket correspondent