Tate: Royal Aclaim doesn’t care about Nunthorpe rivals

Trainer James Tate is happy to ignore Royal Aclaim’s inexperience as they prepare their bid for Group One glory in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Tate’s three-year-old filly is 6/4 favourite for Friday’s showpiece after impressing over the same course and distance in the Listed City Walls Stakes last month.

That made it three unbeaten after returning from over a year off to win at Bath in June.

With just three starts to her name, Royal Aclaim will be the last experienced horse in the field, but Tate firmly believes she has earned a shot at the top level already.

Tate told Sky Sports Racing: “People talk about horses being naturals and we as trainers spend our lives thinking about if they want fast or soft ground, light training or more training, but everything in terms of getting her to perform has been easy. She hasn’t played by the rulebook.

“She had very little training going into Bath and York, she’s just naturally faster than other horses.

“We love this filly and nobody else really knew much about her. People were impressed with the manner she won at York as essentially she hit the front two furlongs out, pricked her ears and came home in her own time under no pressure.

Royal Aclaim ridden by Andrea Atzeni wins The John Smith...s City Walls Stakes during John Smith's Cup Day at York racecourse. Picture date: Saturday July 9, 2022.

Andrea Atzeni is set to partner Royal Aclaim once more at York on Friday

“She is inexperienced, which increases her potential, but all I can tell you is, frankly, she doesn’t care about other horses.

“Let’s face it, we would not be 6/4 if Nature Strip was in the race. He was incredibly impressive at Ascot and he had stayed over and was running in this Nunthorpe it would be tougher.

“I do respect all the horses in the race and thought The Platinum Queen was very impressive at Goodwood.

“You’ve got Group One winners in there and other Group winners from this year. This is not a gimme.”

Raasel has ‘earned his place’ in Nunthorpe field

Raasel (right) ridden by James Doyle wins The Coral Charge during The Coral Summer Festival at Sandown Park, Esher. Picture date: Saturday July 2, 2022.

Raasel (right) ridden by James Doyle wins The Coral Charge at Sandown

Raasel will continue his rise to the top by running in his first Group One at York on Friday.

A revelation since he joined Mick Appleby, from September last year his mark has risen from 73 to 109.

Having won a Group Three at Sandown on his penultimate outing, the five-year-old was narrowly denied in the Group Two King George at Goodwood by Khaadem.

“I suppose we sort of thought it was a missed opportunity and whenever a horse is beaten you ask why,” said Chris Dixon, who owns Raasel as part of The Horse Watchers.

Raasel (left) impresses at Haydock

Raasel (left) impresses at Haydock in the Nifty Fifty Achilles Stakes

“Maybe if the ground hadn’t have been watered as he lost his footing a little, things like that, but at the end of the day it was probably a career-best in the best race that he’d been in and he wasn’t beaten far.

“I wouldn’t want to make excuses, he was just beaten by a better horse on that day under those conditions – Khaadem didn’t beat us in a manner that we wouldn’t want another crack at him.

“It dropped our way at Sandown but it didn’t drop our way at Goodwood, on another day it might have.

“It showed again there’s little between the top handicappers and the Group-class sprinters. The handicappers who travel strongly seem able to make the jump, I think it’s less likely to happen with a sprinter who finds plenty for pressure.

“We’ll soon find out if there’s a big bridge between the Group One sprinters and the rest, he’s certainly earned his place at that level.”