As Alcohol Free clinched the July Cup, another filly prepared to become sprint queen as James Tate’s Royal Aclaim produced a stunning display to take the crown in John Smith’s City Walls Stakes at York.
The unbeaten daughter of Aclaim, who took Perfect Power down to third on her May 2021 debut, was co-favorite 11/4 for the five-stadia Listed event after an impressive comeback after 382 days off the track at Bath on last month.
And she lit up the Knavesmire on a sunny Yorkshire afternoon as she rode to a two-length win at the hands of Andrea Atzeni, who simply had to keep the four-year-old up to her job in the final stages.
“I feel a lot better after that,” the winning coach said afterwards. “We spend our whole lives looking for something a little bit special and I knew I had it after they won at Newcastle last year, beating Perfect Power.
“She did some prep work for the Queen Mary and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was like, ‘Oh my god. That’s it. year, but she was worth the wait. She’s awesome, isn’t she?”
On future targets, Tate added, “Nunthorpe! Nunthorpe, Nunthorpe, Nunthorpe. We have no idea how good she is, but I can’t wait to find out.
“I think she’s the fastest horse I’ve ever trained. It’s so nice to see, she met so many new things today. She had only been to small meetings, she had to walk through the course, she had to see all those people cheering, she took it all in her stride. She did it so well.”
The bookies were suitably impressed with Betfair getting 5/1 for the Nunthorpe in York next month, while Coral went one step further and made Royal Aclaim their 7/2 favorite for the Group One showpiece five meters.