Tag Archive for: Jason Hart

Patronage powers to astonishing Royal Lodge success

Royal Patronage emerged as a Derby contender as he rallied in spectacular style to win the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.

Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Jason Hart, the Wootton Bassett colt was a shock 25-1 winner of the Acomb Stakes at York last time out but went off a 7-2 chance in this mile affair, with Coroebus the 85-40 joint-favourite in company with Masekela.

Hart set out to make all aboard Royal Patronage as he had done on the Knavesmire, bowling along nicely until Coroebus was produced to challenge with a startling turn of foot by William Buick over two furlongs out.

Royal Patronage (right) was too strong for Coroebus
Royal Patronage (right) was too strong for Coroebus (Tim Goode/PA)

It appeared to be a matter of just how far the Godolphin runner would win by as he stretched clear, with a handful of lengths in hand passing the furlong marker.

However, Hart switched Royal Patronage from the inside rail to the middle of the track and his Highclere Racing-owned partner found a second wind meeting the rising ground, producing another burst as Coroebus seemed to run out of petrol, eventually grabbing the lead in the final stride to win by a neck.

Betfair offer 16-1 from 33s about Royal Patronage for next year’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom, while Coral make him a 20-1 shot for the 2000 Guineas and 25s for the premier Classic.

Johnston said: “The Godolphin team were standing beside me watching the race and with a furlong to go they thought they’d won and I thought they’d won.

“I was actually very happy with the run at that point as I could see he was starting to stay on away from the pack and I was thinking to next year and thinking ‘this will be one for the Derby trials early’ on.

Jason Hart celebrates on top of Royal Patronage
Jason Hart celebrates on top of Royal Patronage (Tim Goode/PA)

“Jason said he was a bit free early on, but as soon as he hit the rising ground he just found another gear.

“We had some doubts about stepping up to the mile early on as he has a lot of speed. We almost supplemented him for the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster – it literally went to the wire, deciding whether to supplement or not.

“We decided against it in the end, which we regretted after it broke up so much, but we were reasonably convinced that going further was going to be better. He certainly proved that today.”

On immediate plans, the Middleham trainer said: “I don’t know (if will run in the Vertem Futurity Trophy). I’ll speak to Harry (Herbert, of Highclere) and see what he has to say.

“He looks like a Derby horse. It’s great when you’ve got a horse who you’re thinking might stay a mile and a half, but is showing so much speed early on as well. That’s ideal.”

Hart said: “He over-raced in the first part of the race and really took off with me. But in hindsight it probably helped me.

“This is a good horse and people keep underestimating him. When he met the rising ground he found an extra gear.

“He’s just a really good horse and when you ask him he finds plenty for pressure.”

Coroebus looks to have a huge future, despite defeat
Coroebus looks to have a huge future, despite defeat (Tim Goode/PA)

There will clearly be another day for the imposing Coroebus, who looked so exciting when showing his change of gear.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “It’s always hard when you pass them all and then get passed again.

“He’ll have learned plenty today. We’ve been pleased with him at home and he’s a beautiful-looking horse.

“I think he’s just got a bit lonely out in front there in the end. He only had one run under his belt and got picked up by a horse who has had plenty of racing now.

“Take nothing away from the winner. He’d won an Acomb and he’s obviously a good horse.”

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.”

Keep Busy upholds family tradition at Ayr

Keep Busy emulated her dam with victory in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr.

John Quinn’s four-year-old was dropping down in class, having run consistently well at Group One and Two level in her last four starts but without a victory since her last trip to Scotland at Hamilton in August.

Keep Busy, a Group One runner-up at the Curragh last year and back in action quickly after her admirable close fifth as a 50-1 shot in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, was sent off the 4-7 favourite this time to gain a deserved fifth career success and second at Listed level.

She duly did so with the minimum fuss, following the example set by her mother Look Busy – who won this race by a short head back in 2008.

Ridden by Jason Hart,  Keep Busy was not quite so hard-pressed to make her class tell – striking from off the pace a furlong out, after being positioned in midfield early on, and quickly confirming her superiority to win by three-quarters of a length from Irish challenger Dickiedooda.

Mid Winster, prominent throughout, just held on for third half a length further back.

Quinn was delighted to see Keep Busy win for the first time in seven starts – and confirmed she will soon be going back up in class again.

“She did it well – she was going away at the line,” said the North Yorkshire trainer.

“It’s only seven days after Royal Ascot, so I’m delighted.

“I’ll give her a little chance now for a while. But she does thrive on racing – the more I ran her as a two-year-old the better she was, then last year she only started running in June and then ran nine times.”

A return to the Curragh for the Group Two Sapphire Stakes is therefore on Keep Busy’s agenda – with high-profile dates at Goodwood, York and ParisLongchamp all possibly in the diary for her later in the season.

“She does like racing,” added Quinn.

“Her mum was supremely tough, and this one is the same.

“That said, there’s only so much for her. But there’s the Sapphire at the Curragh, the Group Two in about three weeks.

“That would be the plan, and then back for the Group Ones she ran well in last year – I put her in at Goodwood (King George Stakes) this morning, and the Nunthorpe, and she’ll be entered in the Abbaye.

“But I’d say the Curragh (next), all being well, would fit nicely.”

El Astronaute rockets home for Chester hat-trick

El Astronaute blitzed his rivals to claim a third win at Chester in the Boodles Conditions Stakes.

John Quinn’s popular speedball brought a tremendous course record back to the Roodee, having never finished out of the first three in six previous visits.

While he has previously had issues with the starting stalls, the eight-year-old went in first time on this occasion under Jason Hart – and flew out when the gates opened to put his rivals on the back foot from the off.

Both King’s Lynn, the 11-10 favourite in the colours of the Queen, and Ainsdale were closing on El Astronaute as the post loomed, but the leader hung on by three-quarters of a length to seal his 14th career success.

Quinn did not make the trip to Chester, but said from home: “We’re delighted – he’s a legend of a horse.

“He hasn’t lost any pace and he went in the ground. He might like it a bit better, but he’s a very commendable and brilliant horse.

“His record of wins to runs and places to runs is incredible and he looks to be as good as ever, which is phenomenal for an eight-year-old.”

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “We said we’d see how he got on today, so we’ll keep our options open.

“Travel is difficult at the moment, but he’s a great horse to travel – he’s won in Ireland and he’s won in France.

“I’d want my own team to travel with him, though, so we’ll campaign him in England for the time being.

“He takes his racing terribly well, so I’m sure he’ll be out again in May.”

Grove Ferry enjoyed a charmed run through the field to win the tote+ Placepots Pay More Earl Grosvenor Handicap.

Grove Ferry (right) wins the opening race at Chester on Thursday
Grove Ferry (right) wins the opening race at Chester on Thursday (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding’s four-year-old was quietly fancied for the Lincoln having tuned up for that with a win on the all-weather, but he failed to cut much ice in that race.

David Probert only had two behind him as the field turned into the short straight and while it looked clear Grove Ferry was still going well, it was a question of whether he would find a clear passage.

The splits came at just the right time, though, and the 5-1 chance collared Dulas inside the final 100 yards to win going away by three-quarters of a length with Kyrnen, who was last turning in, back in third.

“He did most things wrong. He missed the break and that is normally the end of it considering I had a very good draw, nothing went right in the first part of the race,” said Probert.

“I managed to latch on to something at the back that was travelling well and then I got a nice split, but I think it helped they got racing a long way out.

“He seemed to relish the ground and his hit the line really well. He’s an improving type.

Dark Pine lunged late to claim top honours in the Retraining Of Racehorses Handicap for trainer David Loughnane and jockey Laura Pearson.

Fox Tal (7-2) looked to have done enough to reward favourite backers entering the last half-furlong, but he was ultimately unable to resist the thrust of the 16-1 winner under his 5lb claimer, with a neck separating the pair at the line.

It was a first ride and first winner at Chester for Pearson, who said: “I probably had the easiest run of the lot as I was out the back and out of trouble.

“I really enjoyed riding here, obviously it’s sharp, but I hope that strike-rate continues.

“I can’t believe I beat Silvestre (de Sousa) in a finish, I’m still pinching myself.”

A first ride at Chester and a winner for Laura Pearson on Dark Pine
A first ride at Chester and a winner for Laura Pearson on Dark Pine (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Chester Plate, a consolation race for the Chester Cup, went the way of a rare Venetia Williams-trained Flat runner in Green Book (5-1) who made all under Franny Norton.

Norton, riding his third winner of the meeting, said: “I’ve been round here that many times, but when I looked over my shoulder I thought I’d gone a lap too soon.

“The good thing about riding for Venetia today was there were no instructions, she told me I’d know what to do. It wasn’t the plan to make the running, but he had 8st 6lb and when they let me control it I thought I’d take it with both hands.

“He was on the wrong leg going down to back but he couldn’t have done it any better, I don’t know where they’ve been hiding him because he was a maiden as well!”