Royal Lodge hero Royal Patronage set to line up in Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster

Royal Patronage pulled off a shock to land Group Three Acomb Stakes at York before Group Two glory in Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket; Highclere to give him Group One target after several form boosts; he was second to Dewhurst winner Native Trail in Sandown maiden

Royal Patronage and Jason Hart wins the Acomb Stakes at York
Image: Royal Patronage and Jason Hart wins the Acomb Stakes at York

Connections of Royal Patronage are looking forward to seeing their two-year-old colt run in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster later this month.

Trained by Mark Johnston, the Wootton Bassett colt has won the Acomb and Royal Lodge on his last two starts, beating some highly-touted horses in the process.

He had Dewhurst runner-up Dubawi Legend behind him in the Acomb, while he battled back to beat Coroebus in the Royal Lodge having seemingly given best to the subsequent Autumn Stakes winner.

NEWMARKET, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: William Buick riding Native Trail (C, blue) win The Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse on October 09, 2021 in Newmarket, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Image: William Buick riding Native Trail to victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket

Royal Patronage also finished second to Dewhurst winner Native Trail in a Sandown maiden back in June.

"We're heading to the Vertem Futurity," said Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

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"Mark and Charlie (Johnston) are very happy with him - I've seen them at the sales - and the form is very much the hottest in the book, so we're going to give it our best.

"He got unbalanced going into the dip in the Royal Lodge, then he very much powered home but his form all the way ties in, and you can't take that away from the horse."

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He added: "We're excited to see him take his chance at Doncaster, he very much deserves to run.

"If it went soft it wouldn't really worry us, it was good to soft at Epsom when he won and he powered through that. I don't think ground is an issue to him.

"He was second to Native Trail in a maiden but they were meeting at different points in their careers, ours has improved with every run significantly."

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