Herbert keeping Patronage faith after Doncaster disappointment

Connections of Royal Patronage were left cursing their luck after the high-class juvenile was struck into during the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

Mark Johnston’s colt lined up for the final Group One of the British Flat season with leading claims, judged on his defeat of subsequent Autumn Stakes winner Coroebus in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket.

But after making much of the running over Doncaster’s straight mile, Royal Patronage ended up passing the post a long last of eight runners – after which his injury came to light.

Harry Herbert, managing director for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “Unfortunately he was struck into and returned with a nasty gash just above his hock.

“The jockey (Jason Hart) was very happy with him travelling, but he said he felt him wobble behind and he obviously eased him down immediately and pulled him up.

“We were obviously very disappointed. It was too bad to be true and watching it – I was thinking ‘what’s going on here’, and feared the worst watching him being pulled up.

“These things happen – it’s just very unfortunate that it happened in a Group One race, where you hope you’ve got a chance.”

Herbert remains hopeful Royal Patronage can bounce back to stake a claim for Derby glory next year.

He added: “He’ll have the winter off and he’ll be back, hopefully for a Derby trial in the spring.”