York’s Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes is the only race on James Tate’s mind as he admits he is “still floating” following Royal Aclaim’s breathtaking success on the Knavesmire on Saturday.
Having lowered the colours of subsequent three-time Group One-winner Perfect Power on debut as a two-year-old, the filly spent the next 382 days on the sidelines before producing a commanding display to make a successful comeback in a Bath novice event in June.
She was then set her first major challenge when sent off the 11-4 joint-favourite for the Listed City Walls Stakes and passed the test with aplomb, scoring comfortably by two lengths to book her return to York for the Nunthorpe on the Friday of the Ebor meeting.
Royal Aclaim barely exited third gear in the hands of Andrea Atzeni and Tate is convinced her weekend exhibition is barely scratching the surface of what the smooth-travelling three-year-old is capable of.
He has also stated the Nunthorpe is the sole focus for the daughter of Aclaim, who is favourite across the boards for the Group One-contest and a best price of 3-1.
“I’m still floating! She was great,” said an excitable Tate. “It’s been a long road to get her back and for her to pass that test with flying colours was great.
“I’d like to think there is a good bit of improvement sill in her and all roads to the Nunthorpe.
“We discussed potential plans with Sheikh Juma, her owner, and we just felt squeezing Goodwood in between now and York would be a touch ambitious and we wanted to keep our eyes on the main prize – that being the Nunthorpe.
“She’s effectively won a trial for the Nunthorpe and she has been delicate in the past, so we didn’t want to do too much. Also, quite frankly, she is such a natural – she doesn’t need any more education and experience like some others do.
“She is something else and it was incredible for her to do that on just her third start and the great thing is that we feel there is so much more left in the tank.”