Royal Scotsman steams to Epsom success

Paul and Oli Cole's talented four-year-old bounces right back to his best.

ROYAL SCOTSMAN (right, pink/green cap) winning the Diomed Stakes at Epsom Downs in England.
ROYAL SCOTSMAN (right, pink/green cap) winning the Diomed Stakes at Epsom Downs in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Paul and Oliver Cole-trained four-year-old Royal Scotsman looked to be right back at his best when making all to land the Group 3 Diomed Stakes under a masterful Jamie Spencer ride.

The 2022 Dewhurst Stakes runner-up and last year's 2000 Guineas third has understandably been highly tried subsequently but failed to show his initial sparkle in recent outings. Disappointing efforts in the Irish 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes would see him go off a relatively unfancied 16/1 for his reappearance in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month, where once again he'd disappoint, only beating one horse home.

However, Royal Scotsman showed his true colours when dropped back to Group 3 company at Epsom on Derby Day, powering away from his rivals in the closing stages after a masterful front-running ride from Jamie Spencer.

The Marco Botti-trained Royal Dubai ran on well to grab the second spot under Oisin Murphy, but the pair never looked like troubling the strong travelling winner, who would go on to record a commanding two-and-a-quarter length success.

"We've always thought a lot of this horse. He probably had a good chance in the Dewhurst and was unlucky, he probably had a very good chance in the Guineas and was unlucky," said Oli Cole.

"After that, there were a couple of disappointing runs, he had bone bruising and then in the Lockinge he cocked his jaw when he came out the stalls.

"Since then, we've done lots of stalls work as he was panicking, we put the Monty Roberts rug on him, and I spoke to Jamie three times this week and told him just to hold the neck strap. I said it very respectfully as he's a jockey and I'm not, but I just wanted to give him all the rein he could possibly give him and just jump and go forward.

"He's done that very well and the plan was always to go forward today so he can relax in front. These Gleneagles horses are quite highly strung and if you get into a tussle early on, it costs you at the end. It proved that at the end of his two-year-old career and his three-year-old career, but he's done that very well and I couldn't be happier.

"In the back of my mind, I thought he might let us down again, but he really didn't."

Paddy Power was visually impressed with the performance, cutting the winner to 16/1 (from 66s) for the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on the opening day of the royal meeting, but connections seem more likely to bypass the option with the Sussex Stakes seemingly a more favourable plan. 

 "Maybe he will go to the Sussex Stakes now. He has an entry at Ascot, but I think that will come too quick. Now we've got the hang of him, hopefully, there is fun to be had," explained Cole.

"We could even drop him back to seven furlongs or six, he's such a good horse and it would not surprise me if he won a Group One over six furlongs. He's so fast at home and the speed he gets up to and the ground he covers is amazing.

"It would be brilliant to take him back to Goodwood and see what he is made of, but what a relief today is."

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