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'It's a bit surreal' - WC Equine proud of unbeaten graduate Royal Aclaim

Filly sold from to Rabbah Bloodstock from the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale

Royal Aclaim blitzes the field at York
Royal Aclaim blitzes the field at YorkCredit: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

A lot can happen in the space of 14 months and business is booming for WC Equine in light of the exploits of a certain filly by Aclaim who is unbeaten in three starts for James Tate and now favourite for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York next month.

Royal Aclaim, the easy winner of the City Walls Stakes last Saturday, passed through the expert hands of Ellie Whitaker and Tegan Clark before selling to Rabbah Bloodstock for 60,000gns at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale in April last year.

The pair's Newmarket operation may still be in its comparative infancy but it was not difficult to foresee them hitting the big time and success in the showpiece York sprint would do much to propel the duo forward again.

Whitaker said: "We're sat here wondering whether it's all real. To have the favourite for the Nunthorpe is a bit surreal. We were just so delighted to see her go and win first time out – that's the aim of the game with the breeze-ups.

"We were really looking forward to her coming back out this year but we've been asking ourselves how has this happened. I don't want to say it's beginners' luck because we've worked hard, but it's a weird and wonderful feeling."

The pair were quick to pay tribute to the three-year-old's breeder, Brendan Morrin of Pier House Stud, whose Soviet Star mare Knock Stars has also produced minor winner Terrier Spirit and has a two-year-old colt by Sioux Nation called Pop Star. She also has a yearling colt by Coolmore's Phoenix Stakes winner and leading first-season sire.

Ellie Whitaker and Tegan Clark: 'We both worked separately, we'd never worked together before and now we work together!'
Ellie Whitaker (left) and Tegan Clark of WC EquineCredit: Ellie Whitaker and Tegan Clark

Clark said: "It's great for Brendan as he bred her and has the mare. We work closely with him and we're delighted the filly has gone out and done that for him as well. It's also great for James Tate as he's done a very good job minding and maintaining her."

Whitaker and Clark also remember the easygoing nature of Royal Aclaim (or Donna as she was affectionately known during her stay) when she was being broken in and pre-trained.

Clark said: "She was straightforward to break in and in her prep but she always had that strong presence and attitude. I used to say to Ellie all the time that this was the kind of horse you'd want to take to war because she'd never give up."

While WC Equine has not had many by the National Stud's Classic-winning sire pass through their hands, Clark recalled a colt by the stallion having the same straightforward attitude to match his paternal half-sibling.

She said: "We've had her and one other for a client of ours and he was very similar in terms of his attitude. He was a different stamp but had a similar temperament; he had some attitude as he knew what he liked and what he didn't. They're the only two we've come across so far."

With Royal Aclaim's recent blistering Listed success at York and another fine season with their breeze-ups this spring, Whitaker and Clark have also been able to build up their two-legged team and add more stables to their yard.

Whitaker said: "We had a successful breeze-up season and we've expanded off the back of Donna's success with a few new boxes and staff, while our client base has also expanded. It's all helped our business grow."


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