Hugo bosses it at Curragh with Rapid River…as the Shane Foley-ridden 12-1 shot wins the Group One Phoenix Stakes
- Ebro River fought off Dr Zempf and the favourite Go Bears Go to claim victory
- Ebro River is a son of Galileo Gold, both horses were trained by Hugo Palmer
- The jury is still out regarding Ebro River’s future as a 2,000 Guineas contender
Trainer Hugo Palmer changed tactics on Ebro River and it paid off as the 12-1 shot landed the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
The Shane Foley-ridden winner had been beaten in his three starts since streaking home in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown in April. But Ebro River, who is owned by Al Shaqab Racing, relished being allowed to stride on by Foley as he fought off Dr Zempf by three-quarters of a length with favourite Go Bears Go a further head back in third.
Victory was made sweeter for Palmer because Ebro River is a son of the trainer’s 2016 winner of the 2,000 Guineas, Galileo Gold.
Shane Foley rode Ebro River to victory at the Group One Phoenix Stakes at Curragh on Sunday
Ebro River is a son 2016 winner of the 2,000 Guineas Galileo Gold, also trained by Hugo Palmer
It was also Palmer’s first Group One win since Galileo Gold landed the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016.
Palmer, who said the Galileo Gold connection had filled him with a ‘father’s pride’, added: ‘The plan was to ride him differently and let him use his stride.
‘James Doyle couldn’t ride Ebro River but he has been a big part of this horse’s development.
‘We talked about what do. We’ve been trying to get him to settle in behind and he is actually much happier in front. Sometimes you have to let horses do what they want rather than fight them.’
The Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in September is Ebro River’s likely next target. But Palmer said the jury was out on whether the colt would be a sprinter or step up to a mile to become a 2,000 Guineas contender. Palmer said: ‘He is not all about this year. He will have a three-year-old career as well’
Palmer gave little away on whether Ebro River would become a 2,000 Guineas contender