As Alcohol Free was landing the July Cup, another filly was preparing to announce herself as sprinting royalty as James Tate’s Royal Aclaim produced a blistering display to wear the crown in York’s John Smith’s City Walls Stakes.
The unbeaten daughter of Aclaim, who had Perfect Power back in third on debut back in May 2021, was the 11/4 joint-favourite for this five-furlong Listed event following an impressive comeback from 382 days off the track at Bath last month.
And she lit up the Knavesmire on a sun-kissed afternoon in Yorkshire as she sauntered to a two-length victory in the hands of Andrea Atzeni, who simply had to keep the four-year-old up to her work in the closing stages.
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“I feel a lot better after that,” said the winning trainer in the immediate aftermath. “We spend all our lives looking for something a bit special and I knew I had it after she won at Newcastle last year, beating Perfect Power.
“She did a piece of work getting ready for the Queen Mary and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought, ‘oh my god. This is it’. Unfortunately she’d had a setback and she couldn’t reappear until this year, but she’s been worth waiting for. She’s great, isn’t she?”
On future targets, Tate added: “Nunthorpe! Nunthorpe, Nunthorpe, Nunthorpe. We’ve no idea how good she is, but I’m looking forward out finding out.
“I think this is the fastest horse I’ve ever trained. It is so nice to see, she met with so many new things today. She’d only been to little meetings, she had to walk across the course, she had to see all these people cheering, she’s taken it all in her stride. She’s just done it so well.”
The bookmakers were suitably impressed with Betfair going 5/1 for the Nunthorpe back at York next month, while Coral went even further and made Royal Aclaim their 7/2 favourite for the five-furlong Group One showpiece.