Group Three aim for Epsom victor Ever Given

Ever Given has been set the challenge of picking up a Group Three next following his win in the Listed Surrey Stakes on Oaks day at Epsom.

Hugo Palmer’s son of Kodi Bear was an impressive winner of a Chester handicap on his reappearance, but had a point to prove when stepping up to seven furlongs at Epsom following a disappointing display in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.

The progressive colt handled the twists and turns of the Surrey Downs best to get Listed honours in his pocket and although his handler admits Epsom is an easy seven furlongs, the win now opens the door for a tilt at either the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket a week later as connections now target Group-level prizes.

Palmer said: “It’s a sharp seven furlongs at Epsom, as everyone knows they race downhill for at least half the race, but I was very pleased with him. I think it is fair to say it was a career-best performance and it looks like he’s still progressive.

“I think the Jersey would have to be the obvious next step, the only thing is I don’t think he wants rattling fast ground and Ascot can get very quick, so we will just have to see what the weather brings.

“There is also the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket the following week as an option and he’s a Listed winner now, so the next thing to do is go to a Group Three and keep climbing the ladder that way.”

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Legend Of Xanadu held off Self Praise in the Woodcote
Legend Of Xanadu held off Self Praise in the Woodcote (Tim Goode/PA)

Palmer and owners the Dandy Boys also hit the crossbar on Friday afternoon when Self Praise defied traffic problems in the early stages to fly home for second in the opening Woodcote Stakes.

With the winner of that race set to be pointed towards the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, Palmer believes the runner-up would also not be out of place in the Group Two event on the opening day of the summer meeting, but thinks the best thing to do at this stage could be to get a win under the belt of the smart Twilight Son colt.

He continued: “I think he’s a very nice colt and we’ll just have to talk to the owners and see what they want to do. My natural want would be to go and win a maiden with him and then if we were pleased, we might head to something like the Superlative Stakes.

“Seven furlongs will suit him well, but at the same time he wouldn’t be disgraced in a Coventry, so we would have to keep at least one eye on that.”

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