• Ian Ender


ROYAL VILLAGE 18 May 2012. Scorpion-Etoile Margot. Owner-Cheltenham Trail & Cleeve Racing Club.

Royal Village is already a three times winner at Market Rasen, and has also finished second in the 'Summer Plate' at the track back in 2019. Royal Village probably isn't as good as he was a couple of years ago, but since joining us he has shown he can still be competitive in quality races. The predicted good ground is just what he needs, and the handicapper has dropped him a further 2lb to 127. The race is over his favoured extended two miles and five furlongs at, and Conor O'Farrell retains the ride.

Royal Village is a very welcome addition to the team, he is only nine years old, and has now run on 31 occasions in all disciplines, he is already a proven high class performer with a best BHA rating of 141, and best Racing Post rating of 142.His dam was a winner in France at Enghien back in 2001, and among her seven racecourse representatives is the 164 rated Village Vic.

Royal Village started his career in the point field at Ballysteen, in Ireland, in April 2016, he was still in touch when falling two out.He was sold over the summer to the yard of Philip Hobbs, and made a winning debut under rules in a bumper at Southwell in November.One month later he made his hurdles debut, finishing third at Leicester, after a short break he returned at Southwell in March 2017 to finish second, and followed up a month later when second again, this time at Market Rasen, he was given his first handicap mark of 120.He got off the mark over hurdles 15 days later when sent up to Perth, making all over two and a half miles under Richard Johnson to win by a nose. Staying in novice hurdle company, but stepping up by three furlongs, under a 6lb penalty he doubled up at Worcester, this time by 12 lengths, at odds of 4/5.He would race on one more occasion for the Hobbs yard, making his handicap debut at Cartmel off 127, but Richard Johnson reported that the horse was never travelling.

Royal Village remained in the same ownership but was transferred to the yard of Ian Williams, making his debut at Market Rasen in May 2018, finishing a respectable forth, before being reunited with Richard Johnson in June, and once again finishing a close up fourth.It was decided he needed minor wind surgery, which only kept him off the track for a month, but it did the trick, as he returned for his novice handicap chase debut, dead heating for first place from a mark of 125.He would place in all of his next three outings, before the application of first time cheek pieces helped him to get back in to the winners enclosure, once again at Market Rasen. His sights were set higher at Ascot in November, when a solid third off 134, after which he had a break until the following April 2019, with a returning sixth at Sandown. He won for the sixth time at Uttoxeter in May, and was second at Market Rasen in the Listed Summer Plate in July, his final win to date was in August at Southwell, taking his rating to his highest yet of 141.His last start of that season was back at Market Rasen in October in the £50,000 Virgin Bet Prelude Handicap Chase where he finished third, after leading on the run in.

His next appearance was at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival in the Brown Advisory Grade 3 Handicap Chase, when he was making headway, when falling at the eight fence.After lock down he returned in July at Market Rasen for a second crack at the Summer Plate, this time finishing sixth. In early September at Perth he was forth,and his final start for the Ian Williams yard was on September 29th at Bangor, when three miles may have stretched his stamina, as he finished sixth of the 14 runners, beaten 15 lengths.

Royal Village made his debut for us at Doncaster in December 2020, in Class 3 company at Doncaster, with Billy Garritty pulling him up before four out, a post race examination by the racecourse vet revealed that the horse had blood in his trachea. He was given a six months break and didn't reappear until Market Rasen in May 2021 where he stepped up to three miles. This time we saw the real Royal Village, as once again in Class 3 company he finished a tremendous third off a mark of 131. He was next in action three weeks later at Cartmel, but finished tailed off with the vet reporting that the horse had finished the race lame. He won for the eighth time, and for the first time for us at Market Rasen in July when the horse in front of him fell at the last when four lengths clear, even the most biased Royal Village fan would have to admit he was a fortunate winner that day. His next assignment was a crack at the prestigious 'Summer Plate' at Market Rasen two weeks later, but he could never get competitive, although he did stay on to be a 24 lengths seventh of the 16 runners. His latest start was in August at Worcester when stepping up to two miles and seven furlongs. He was held up to help him get the trip, and was staying on for a 14 lengths third in Class 2 company.

Royal Village has spent his whole career running on ground with 'good' in the description, but has got form on good to soft. Ever since winning at Market Rasen in 2018, he has always worn cheek pieces, and his best trip has been between two miles and four furlongs, to two miles and six furlongs, but it now appears he may stay further as he has got older. TO BE CONTINUED.

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