‘One of the best of his generation’ – Palmer talks about Group 1 star Ebro River | Horse racing news


Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Ebro River: Phoenix Stakes winner returns to Abernant Stakes

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

By Robbie Wilders and Matt Rennie

Wednesday: 3:00 p.m. Newmarket
Connaught Access Flooring Outlying Issues (Group 3) | 6f | 3yrs+ | ITV4/RTV

Only once in the last decade has a three-year-old raced in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes and Hugo Palmer clearly thinks sprinting is the way to go for last year’s Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River.

The River Ebro has no classic entry and although he struggled all at the two furlong pole in the 7f National Stakes, he ultimately couldn’t maintain the strong pace he established during this travel. Similar events happened in the Jean-Luc Lagardère on the heavy next time.

Weight-for-age concessions favor younger horses earlier in the season and, in theory, the Ebro should win comfortably if fully primed. He is the highest rated horse at 3lbs, receiving 12lbs from older males and 9lbs from mares. However, the juvenile ratings are often inflated and the Ebro pedigree does not scream in the sprint.

Garrus sets the standard among the older brigade and reappeared at last month’s Cammidge Trophy in Doncaster. He was denied a clear run against the rail just over a yard, but it was disappointing that a horse with such a commendable record was unable to reorganize to mount a challenge when changed.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Garrus (centre) competes in Wednesday's contest under Ryan Moore

Garrus (centre) competes in Wednesday’s contest under Ryan Moore

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

It may be worth siding with a few four-year-olds at much higher prices. Existent was made into a smart sprinter for Stuart Williams and shares similarities with Keystroke, the coach’s 2019 winner.

Both were battling after racing in all weathers in the winter and had excuses for their recent losses. Existent got upset in the stalls, lost ground at the start and never got the splits in the final square yard. If he manages the preliminaries and the rain abstains, he is a major player.

The lightly run Bellosa is the other racer of interest. She hasn’t raced 6f yet but has plenty of speed and a drop in travel might be just what she needs on a track she loves.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

Palmer excited about clash of older sprinters

Hugo Palmer is excited to test Ebro River against older sprinters for the first time and expects the Rowley Mile to play to the strengths of last year’s Phoenix Stakes winner.

The son of Galileo Gold finished third to Native Trail in the National Stakes in a standout juvenile season and takes up to 12 pounds from some of his opponents on Wednesday, while escaping a penalty for his high-profile victory at the Curragh , which left Palmer expecting a daring sight.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Ebro River: could be destined for greater things after its return

Ebro River: could be destined for greater things after its return

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“I think Newmarket should suit him because I’m a bit nervous about him staying in the hard six at Ascot,” Palmer said. “That’s not to say we won’t go to the Pavilion Stakes next, but I’m very confident he gets all six at Newmarket.

“I just thought this might be the right place to start him. If he goes through the three-year program, he has to face the best sprinters of his generation, of which he is of course one. I’m not sure that any of the others in the Abernant can be described as the best of his generation.”

Charlie Hills, trainer of Garrus
I was very happy with his run at Doncaster and that has been the plan ever since. He stumbled out of the stalls that day and we were a spot or two behind where we ideally wanted to be. He has already run well at Newmarket and Doncaster should have sharpened him well.

Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Jumby
I’m really happy with him. It’s a good starting point and although all of mine seem to need a run, I think I’ve done a lot with it. He overwintered very well and loves the Rowley Mile. He’s on an upswing winning his last two and we’ve got William Buick on him, so we’re very hopeful.

Chris Wall, Coach of Double Or Bubble
She has wintered well and is ready to race. There are one or two in there that she will need to improve to beat but she has to start somewhere and it seems like a good niche. She generally runs well here and we are hoping for a good race before we set up a plan for the rest of the season.
Reporting by Matt Rennie

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