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Ebro River set for Lagardere - unless ground scuppers our plans

Middle Park absentee Ebro River is likely to run in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp, although Hugo Palmer will monitor conditions before giving the green light for the trip to Paris.

Fast ground at Newmarket meant the Phoenix Stakes winner did not drop back from seven furlongs to six to compete in Saturday's Middle Park Stakes won by Perfect Power.

However, Ebro River could tackle another Group 1 as soon as Sunday providing conditions are not unsuitably firm in Paris.

Speaking on Sunday morning, Palmer said: "We're a little bit on weather watch but I think we're going to get a little rain today, tomorrow and through next week and it's going to get cooler. Once it gets cooler the ground will hold.

"As long as the ground isn't firm in Paris next weekend, Ebro River will go there for the Jean-Luc Lagardere.

"The ground was very, very fast at Newmarket yesterday. If it was good ground or if we'd no options we'd have gone, but it just seems silly to run him on firm ground when we know we can run him a week later in Paris, or if it was firm ground in Paris he could wait for the Dewhurst."

Palmer's 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold – Ebro River's sire – is his only previous runner in the Lagardere when he finished third in 2015.

Ebro River has displayed more raw speed than his sire, winning twice over five furlongs and a Group 1 over six, but Palmer was satisfied with how he fared on his first run over seven on Irish Champions Weekend when third to Native Trail and expects Longchamp to suit far better than the Curragh over the trip.

"I thought he ran very well [at the Curragh]," Palmer said. "I thought he ultimately got outstayed by two stronger stayers. The seven furlongs at the Curragh is probably the stiffest seven furlongs anywhere in the world, and it's a very different proposition in Paris where they come downhill for such a long way and round a couple of bends, it's a Flat finish up the two straights.

"I think he'll find the seven in Paris much more comfortable than the seven at the Curragh. I hope he will anyway."

Dubawi Legend is another string to the trainer's bow in the top two-year-old races this autumn and the form of his Acomb Stakes third is beginning to look smart with fourth Noble Truth and winner Royal Patronage winning Listed and Group 2 contests on their next starts.

Although Dubawi Legend is also entered for the Lagardere, Palmer is leaning towards next month's Darley Dewhurst Stakes on October 9 instead.

Palmer said: "We were very disappointed with him in the Acomb. His work was good on Friday morning but he needs to work again; he's had a little bit of time off after that dirty scope.

"If the ground was fast in Paris he could go but I'm keener on waiting, most likely for the Dewhurst. I don't really want to go a mile with him yet."

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