Thank you Royal Ascot-we'll see you again next year.
On the eve of Royal Ascot, we attended the Goffs London Sale. Our Marco Botti trained colt Dark Acclaim was sold for £300,000 to race in Australia, which was a tremendous result for his owners. We purchased him for £45,000 from the Goffs breeze up sale-he went on to win £56,000 in prize money, including taking his syndicate to Rome for the Group 2 Derby Italiano, where he finished 4th. We wish his new connections the best of luck with him.
We hope you enjoyed the 5 days of Royal Ascot . Even without being there, watching the coverage on TV is such a treat; the colours, sounds, excitement, the superb quality of horses on show and some breathtaking performances were a feast for the eyes. Alpha Centauri for Jessie Harrington was phenomenal, breaking Barney Roy's track record and we couldn't help but be moved by the emotional win from Arthur Kitt on Saturday. It really is the pinnacle of British flat racing and we were proud to have had three runners (for the second year in a row!)
We often hear from our owners that having a Royal Ascot runner "is a dream" and indeed it is for anyone involved in racing. Our three syndicates had a blast: "Thanks for the opportunity to get to Royal Ascot" ~ "We had a fantastic day" ~ "We had a fabulous day despite the result, many thanks" ~ "We had an amazing day and are so grateful to MPR, Mark Johnston's team and (of course) Ventura Knight for allowing us to be there."
He ran a blinder of a race to finish in 6th place and in the prize money in the Coventry Stakes-the best 2yo race of the season so far! His attitude is to die for; he will try his heart out for you. He took all the prelims very well and there wasn't a bother on him. Apparently he did get a little unsettled down at the start and that possibly just showed in the first furlong where he was a little gassy, but he soon settled and was “on his head for the majority of the race.” Meaning he was going as fast as he could to keep up.
His syndicate manager Tom says "His 6th place was earned in the middle part of the race by Paul (Hanagan) and the horse managing to stay in contention before the business end, where we knew we would be at our strongest. I would say you can take arguably the first 4 home out of the race as they seem a cut above and look genuine Group 1 horses, especially the winner, so if you took them out, in theory, we were second and making great strides into the horse in front. Paul was delighted with what he felt underneath him and the way he ran. He confirmed the two main things that we suspected going into the race, 'further and softer' but he pointed out he’s run 6th in the Coventry, despite not having those in his favour. He also commented that he felt that he could be up to making into a listed or even Group 3 animal in time and in his conditions. That should give us some fun!"
Alas it panned out that he was drawn on the wrong side in the Royal Hunt Cup and the far side group had little chance. He travelled very sweetly through the race but Paul (Mulrennan) said the ground was just too quick for him to let himself down fully. The Timeform race comments probably sum it up nicely:
"Almost certainly remains in good form after 6 weeks off, seemingly just undone by the combination of a poor draw and first try beyond 7f since 2014; raced far side, waited with, travelled well, shaken up under 2f out, not quicken, found the test too much."
We’ll head to The Bunbury Cup at Newmarket on July 14th next and hope for good ground or softer.
He travelled so well for half of the race in The Britannia and looked poised to pounce off a frenetic early pace. Ultimately, his slightly disappointing performance is just one of those Mark Johnston runners, who’s race you just have to put a line though. Invariably, Mark’s horses return back to form on their next run and we are already planning for where that may be.