Yorkshire celebrates hat-trick of winners at Ebor Festival’s opening day

ROYAL Patronage was the centrepiece of a hat-trick of Yorkshire-trained winners on the opening day of the Ebor Festival.

This was Royal Patronage and Jason Hart takig the Acomb Stakes on day one of the Ebor Festival.

The two-year-old colt led from start to finish in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes under Jason Hart and put a marker down for next season’s Classics with victory in this Group Three contest over seven furlongs.

The outsider of the five runners, Hart has now run successive races on Royal Patronage for Middleham trainer Mark Johnston and members of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing syndicate.

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Fastest out of the stalls, a typical Hart trait, the horse’s more established rivals were never in a position to throw down the gauntlet in the closing stages as Royal Patronage showed tremendous tenacity – a trademark of all Johnston horses.

Copper Knight is now a six-time York winner after landing the Ebor Festival's opening contest.

“While he was the most exposed, I was surprised he was the outsider but there was plenty of hype around the other runners,” reflected Johnston.

“He’s won a Group Three and the only way is up for the moment. Jason rode him last time and does ride fairly regularly for us, so was the obvious choice to ride. I’m not sure where we’ll go next, he’s got quotes for the Guineas but he might be more a Dante type.”

The meeting began with Copper Knight landing a sixth course success when taking the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap for Great Habton’s Tim Easterby and jockey David Allan – a fitting way to mark the return of crowds to the Ebor meeting.

No horse in the modern era has been more prolific on the Knavesmire than the durable seven-year-old, who showed blistering speed to spring a surprise in the sprint over five and a half furlongs.

Tweet Tweet ridden by jockey Harrison Shaw (centre) was the third Yorkshire winner on day one of the Ebor Festival.

Easterby said: “He’s a wonderful horse. Dave said he’s not felt like that for a long time. He likes that good ground and just coasted along. He got a nice tow into it and it was brilliant to watch.

“I don’t train him really – he trains himself. He lobs away out the back, canters round and you don’t do anything fancy with him. He was in on Saturday at Chester, but he won’t run there now – he’s earned his corn now.”

The final local winners was the Declan Carroll-trained Tweet Tweet who notched her third win from four starts this year in the IRE Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Stakes under Harrison Shaw.

Malton-based Carroll said: “Carrying that weight today (9st 7lb), that was a good performance.

“She’s all heart and is progressing well. She could make up into a nice filly next year. We could look at the Listed race at Doncaster (Scarborough Stakes), but she needs fast ground.”