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Irish Legend on course for Classic Trial following racecourse spin

Hugo Palmer’s unbeaten Irish Legend went through his paces on the Rowley Mile on Thursday morning with the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown on his agenda.

The Sea The Stars colt won on his debut at Nottingham over an extended mile and then defied a penalty when beating John Gosden’s Zagato over 10 furlongs at Chelmsford.

He worked over a mile with a stable companion under Michael Hills and while he failed to pick up his lead horse, Palmer expects him to come into his own when faced with a stiffer test of stamina.

“Michael was really happy with him even though the work wasn’t quite perfect, the pace early on (didn’t suit), but we got a blow into him which was what we came here to do,” said Palmer.

Irish Legend (left) winning on debut at Nottingham
Irish Legend (left) winning on debut at Nottingham (David Davies/PA)

“He’s an inexperienced horse who has raced twice and won twice, he’s beautifully bred (dam related to Palmer’s Irish Oaks winner Covert Love) and he’s exciting.

“All being well, we’ll go to Sandown a week tomorrow. I think the 10 furlongs there will be right up his street. After that we’ll see – even if he wins at Sandown, I don’t think we’ll go straight to Epsom, he’d probably have another run.

“We put him in the Epsom trial as sometimes that race can cut up, but I looked when the entries came out and I thought ‘well that was a wasted entry!’

“It would have just been annoying to wait until Sandown if we were to watch four horses run round Epsom. It was kind of the Jockey Club to let us on (track) today.

“He got very upset at Chelmsford, it was near Bonfire Night and there were lots of fireworks going off which blew his head, so he did well to get it together to win. Coming here, even with no crowd, it focuses their mind.”

Palmer also has a filly with Classic potential in the Qatar Racing-owned Ocean Road.

“She worked this morning. Oisin (Murphy) came in to ride her for the first time and he described her as ‘worth getting out of bed for’, so that was good,” said Palmer.

“She’s done precious little wrong and Oisin said she felt very worthy of going to an Oaks trial.

“Whether that be the Pretty Polly, as Sheikh Fahad has another earmarked for Lingfield I think, or there’s Chester and York to consider too, we’ll see.

“Plan A is black type and if she’s lucky enough to win one, we can raise out sights a bit more.”

Irish Legend delights Palmer with winning start at Nottingham

Hugo Palmer sees Irish Legend as a horse for the future after the two-year-old colt made a winning debut at Nottingham.

The son of Sea The Stars is related to Palmer’s 2015 Irish Oaks heroine Covert Love and the Newmarket handler hopes Irish Legend can develop into a smart performer in his own right after getting his career off to the perfect start.

Sent off the 7-4 favourite for the British EBF Oath Maiden Stakes over an extended mile, Irish Legend joined the leader Royal Touch over a furlong out and was able to assert close home to score by a neck in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.

“He’s a lovely horse and I hope he’s got a bright future,” said Palmer.

“He’s related to Covert Love who was our first top-class horse and we keep dreaming he can be one too.

“He’s very much next year’s horse. We’re running out of year a bit.”

Even so, Palmer will consider whether to give Irish Legend a second outing this term.

“Whether we go again under a penalty or have a look at the Silver Tankard at Pontefract would all be possibilities,” he said.

“The temptation to put him away and give us something to dream about over the winter would be strong too, but we’ll see how he takes the race. He’s done well today in testing ground. We’ll just see.”

He added: “I think he’ll stay well and will get a mile and a half. I know he’s out of an Invincible Spirit mare but her sister stayed well and Seas The Stars is a good influence for stamina, as we know.”