Royal Dornoch nailed short-priced favourite Kameko in the shadow of the post to spring a 16-1 surprise in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
The son of Gleneagles – one of three Aidan O’Brien-trained runners and the outsider of the seven-strong field – got up in the dying strides under Wayne Lordan to deny Kameko in a record time for two-year-olds over the Rowley Mile.
Kameko looked set to justify favouritism at 6-5 when sent on by Oisin Murphy after Sound Of Cannons had made the early running, but Royal Dornoch emerged as an unlikely danger and led close home to land the Group Two spoils by a neck.
O’Brien said: “We were delighted with him – he’s a lovely horse.
“He was (near) the top level over six furlongs – and when they can do that, and do the same over a mile, it’s very exciting really.
“It’s like all the Gleneagles. They have speed, and they’re very tough, and very genuine – they’re massive traits.
“I’d say there is (more to come over further), definitely. Wayne said when he did get past, he felt he had plenty left – they’re good things to hear. You love the jockey saying they weren’t finished when they’re going to the line.”
Royal Dornoch was given a quote of 33-1 for the Derby with Paddy Power, while Betfair went 12-1 about his chance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
O’Brien went on: “He is a horse that has worked like a good horse, but he has taken a bit of time to win his maiden. He ran a big race in the Richmond over six furlongs for a horse that we felt that was going to stay.
“I’m delighted really – he hasn’t been protected in any way, he has had plenty of racing and been pitched in there all the time and he has never disappointed us yet. Wayne gave him a lovely ride.
“Donnacha (O’Brien) had said from a very early stage that he wanted seven or a mile, even though I kept running him short. Padraig (Beggy) rode him the last day and he said the same, that he would be comfortable at a mile.
“He gets the mile well and he will probably get a mile and a quarter – whether he gets a mile and a half, I don’t know.
“Usually when those horses start that short they usually don’t get a mile and half, but that doesn’t say he won’t as he is by Gleneagles who is by Galileo and we know anything can happen with them.”
Looking to immediate plans, O’Brien nominated the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on October 26 as a possible target.
He said: “I’d be surprised if he is not in it. It is very possible we could consider that, it depends what else we have going forward. Horses change a lot at this time of year and they come and go very quickly.
“He is a horse that has been very busy as well.”
Of the runner-up, trainer Andrew Balding said: “I was very pleased with the run and he is only a horse having his third run. He is going to keep on improving and is a lovely horse to have in the yard.
“I’ve no complaints with the way he’s run, he just wasn’t good enough on the day.
“He seemed to handle the track fine.”