Royal Patronage registers shock Acomb victory
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.
I'm not sure where we'll go next, he's got quotes for the Guineas but he might be more a Dante type
“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.”
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.”
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