Royal Patronage registers shock Acomb victory

Royal Patronage, the outsider of five at 25-1, ran his rivals into the ground to take the Group Three honours in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.

The Mark Johnston-trained youngster was the most experienced horse in the five-runner field with three previous outings and he gave a thoroughly professional performance to see off better-fancied opposition in smooth style.

Jason Hart dictated affairs from the start on Royal Patronage, who only opened his account three weeks ago. He wound up the tempo in the straight and comfortably kept the rest of the field at bay.

He stayed on strongly to score by two and a quarter lengths from Imperial Fighter to give Johnston back-to-back victories in the race and a fifth in all.

Bookmakers Coral quoted Royal Patronage at 25-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power going 20-1.

Johnston said: “While he was the most exposed, I was surprised he was the outsider but there was plenty of hype around the other runners.

“We were discussing after Epsom that this seemed the obvious place to come and we did bring him to the Dante meeting which shows what we thought of him.

“He was beaten over six first time out, ran well second time at Sandown and then showed what we always thought of him at Epsom.

“We won this with Bijou d’Inde way back when it was a conditions race. Darryll Holland rode him, jumped off and said he was a Group One horse and I think you need to be one to win the Acomb.

“He’s won a Group Three and the only way is up for the moment.

“Jason rode him last time and does ride fairly regularly for us, so was the obvious choice to ride.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next, he’s got quotes for the Guineas but he might be more a Dante type.”

Imperial Fighter (right) had to settle for second
Imperial Fighter (right) had to settle for second (Nigel French/PA)

Andrew Balding was satisfied with the effort of runner-up Imperial Fighter.

He said: “I’m happy with that – it was a good run.

“He’ll stay further in time and he’s going to be a nice horse.”

Untapped potential on show in what promises to be high-class Acomb

Impressive Ascot scorer Ehraz is one of five last-time-out winners set to do battle in a fascinating renewal of the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York on on Wednesday.

Charlie Appleby’s Noble Truth and the Richard Hannon-trained Ehraz finished first and second respectively in a Newmarket maiden in early July, since when Ehraz has gone one better with a facile success.

The pair renew rivalry on the Knavesmire, with Angus Gold, racing manager for Ehraz’s owners Shadwell, expecting another bold showing from their colt.

“He ran very well first time at Newmarket and was impressive at Ascot. He’s done everything right so far and Richard is very happy with the horse – he’s giving him all the right signs at home,” said Gold.

“Obviously it’s a trappy little contest, but I think they feel Ehraz is above average on his home work and all being well he’s a potentially nice horse in the making.

“Like always, you’ve got to see them go and do it on the track.”

Like Ehraz, Noble Truth has two runs under his belt, having finished third behind Hannon’s subsequent July Stakes winner Lusail on his debut before his comfortable defeat of Ehraz.

“Noble Truth progressed from his first start to win his maiden and has done well physically since,” Appleby told

“This will hopefully tell us the level we will be campaigning him at for the rest of the season.”

Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend
Hugo Palmer has high hopes for Dubawi Legend (Simon Cooper/PA)

Dubawi Legend made a big impression when winning by five lengths on his Doncaster debut four weeks ago, a performance which came as no surprise to trainer Hugo Palmer.

He said: “We’re obviously hopeful. He’s a horse we’ve always held in high regard.

“I’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t won the way he did at Doncaster. We were hoping he would do something like that first time and he didn’t disappoint.

“It’s a race that is typical of the conditions of the Acomb. It’s going to be a question of which maiden winner in the second half of July was the better one.”

Palmer would be unconcerned if rain arrived at York, adding: “His work on watered ground in Newmarket has been very pleasing and I would have thought anywhere between firm and good to soft and he’ll be fine.

“It’s just the second run of his life and two or three of the others have got more experience, but he hasn’t missed a beat since Doncaster and goes there in great nick.

“Hopefully he can run a big race.”

Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy team up with Glorious Goodwood winner Imperial Fighter, while Mark Johnston saddles Royal Patronage, who made it third time lucky on his latest appearance at Epsom.

Palmer looking to Dubawi Legend to deliver in Acomb

Hugo Palmer believes Dubawi Legend’s ability to “quicken twice” bodes well for an exciting future – starting with the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York on Wednesday.

Already third-favourite with a host of firms for the Qipco 2000 Guineas, the two-year-old was an impressive five-length winner on his debut at Doncaster and Palmer feels the Group Three over seven furlongs is the logical next step.

“He’s done two proper bits of work since Doncaster and they’ve gone very well,” said Palmer.

“Everything has been smooth – he’s trained very well, I think he’s come forward and he’s tightened up a bit. I think there is still a great deal to come for him.

“York is a wonderful track and the Acomb is the most obvious race. It’s the next step and I think he’s ready to take it.

“He quickened twice at Doncaster – he quickened to the lead and he quickened again when James (Doyle) got about him. It’s rare for a horse to be able to quicken once. Very rare – I think – for a horse to be able to quicken twice.

“Things can go wrong, of course they can, but it would have been very disappointing had he not won very well on what he had shown us at home.

“He’s always been very natural and has a great turn of foot. Very genuinely, if he wasn’t a Dubawi with a pedigree, he would have been ready to win the Brocklesby. He has been like that from the word go – strong, forward and sharp – and we’ve always liked him very much.

“We thought he might get a chance to start over six furlongs before Ascot, but he managed to give himself a haematoma on his quarters. That held him up for a couple of weeks, which was probably the making of him.

“He’s a very fast horse with a very quick action and an electric turn of foot. Everything in his pedigree and everything I know about him points to him being a miler and that’s what we’ll be determined for him to be.

“If he starts getting beaten over a mile looking like he wants to go further, then of course further is an option, but he looks like an out-and-out miler to me for next year.”

Hugo Palmer already has one top-class juvenile in Ebro River
Hugo Palmer already has one top-class juvenile in Ebro River (PA Wire)

Palmer already houses one very smart juvenile in Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River, but the trainer does not see any similarities between the pair.

“Not really, no. They live next door to each other, but they’ve never worked together and they’re a different colour,” he said.

“Dubawi Legend has always been a consummate professional from day one whereas Ebro River has been a work in progress, who has been brilliantly ridden at home and has got better and better with each day, week and start. They’re just different types.”