Royal Dornoch strikes late in Desmond Stakes

O’Brien’s back-to-form colt foils favourite at Leopardstown.

  • Thursday 13 August
  • News
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Royal Dornoch finished with a flourish to claim top honours in the Clipper Logistics Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown.

A field of seven went to post for the Group Three feature, with Ancient Spirit the 9-4 market leader to complete a treble on the afternoon for Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.

For much of the way, favourite backers must have been fairly content – with Ancient Spirit dominating proceedings from the front and looking likely to win decisively after kicking a couple of lengths clear early in the home straight.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Royal Dornoch had finished down the field in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and last of all in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on his last couple of starts, but did beat Guineas hero Kameko in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last term.

The 12-1 shot had only one horse behind him rounding the home turn this time – but as Ancient Spirit began to tie up in the last half-furlong, Royal Dornoch was just finding top gear on the far side of the track and powered home under Seamie Heffernan to win by a neck.

Heffernan said: “He’s a Group Two winner. He’s been a little bit disappointing (this year), but he’s been running in top-notch races.

“I rode him to run well, and it might be just the way to ride him.”

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