York’s Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes is the only race James Tate is thinking about as he admits he is “still floating” after Royal Aclaim’s breathtaking success at the Knavesmire on Saturday.
After the filly lowered the colors of subsequent three-time Group One winner Perfect Power on debut as a two-year-old, the filly spent the next 382 days on the sidelines before putting on an impressive display to make a successful comeback in a beginners event in Bath. in June.
Then she got her first big challenge when she was sent off the 11-4 joint favorite for the Listed City Walls Stakes and passed the test with confidence, scoring comfortably by two lengths to book her return to York for the Nunthorpe on Friday of the Ebor meeting.
Royal Aclaim barely got out of third gear in the hands of Andrea Atzeni and Tate is confident her weekend exhibition barely scratched the surface of what the smooth-travelling three-year-old can do.
He has also stated that the Nunthorpe is the sole focus for Aclaim’s daughter, who is an across-the-board favorite for the Group One match and a 3-1 best prize.
“I’m still floating! She was amazing,” said an excited Tate. “It’s been a long road to get her back and it’s been great to pass that test with flying colors.
“I’d like to think there’s a big improvement in her and all the roads to the Nunthorpe.
“We discussed possible plans with Sheikh Juma, her owner, and we just felt that Goodwood now squeeze in and York would be a bit ambitious and we wanted to keep our eyes on the main prize, which is the Nunthorpe.
“She has effectively won a lawsuit for the Nunthorpe and she’s been vulnerable in the past so we didn’t want to do too much. Honestly, she’s so natural too – she doesn’t need any training and experience like some others do.
“She’s something different and it was incredible for her to do that on her third start and the great thing is we feel like there’s so much more in the tank.”