Royal Patronage to continue career overseas

Royal Patronage is set to stay in America following his encouraging run in the Belmont Derby, with Graham Motion taking over training duties from Mark and Charlie Johnston.

The only horse to ever lower the colours of 2000 Guineas hero Coroebus in the Royal Lodge as a two-year-old, Royal Patronage ran three times on home soil in the early part of the season taking in both the first Classic of the year and the Derby.

However, he failed to build on finishing second in the Dante when well down the field at Epsom, before making his final start for the Kingsley Park team at Belmont earlier this month.

The son of Wootton Bassett seemed to relish his first taste of US racing and having chased the runaway winner, Classic Causeway for most of the 10-furlong Grade One, was somewhat unfortunate to be headed by the pack in the closing stages to finish fifth, beaten just a length and a half.

That performance has given Highclere Thoroughbred Racing plenty of optimism moving forward and managing director Harry Herbert believes the colt has all the attributes to be successful stateside.

“It was a terrific run,” said Herbert.

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“We always knew he had that speed to deal with American racing and as Mark Johnston has said, it was one of those races you would like to see run again and with hindsight stick tighter to the eventual winner, who didn’t come back to the field. We thought he would and he didn’t and we were going very comfortably behind him.

“What the run showed is that we will be very competitive over there. It was a very good performance and he’s with Graham Motion now.

“Graham will assess him and play around with him and come up with a plan. At present I don’t know what that might be. He might want to look at the Saratoga Derby and coming back in trip, that is a possibility.

“But we’re totally in Graham’s hands and how the horse adapts, obviously we don’t want to bottom him out and he’ll need a bit of time to adapt into things over there, which he may do very quickly, you never know.

“If he can stay sound and well, he could be a very good earner for his owners over in the States.”

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