Karl Burke’s Royal Rhyme could be destined for greater things after a tough win in the Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Doonside Cup Stakes at Ayr.
While the colt sent off the 6-5 favourite under Clifford Lee, it was Amy Murphy’s Pride Of America who stalked off to take a significant lead early on.
A long way from home it soon became apparent that none of the other runners were close enough to lay down a challenge and the front two had it between them for the last three furlongs.
Only Burke’s could reel the front runner in, drawing level with him a furlong from home and eventually applying himself to the task to prevail by a length and a quarter.
“I was very confident I was going to get him (Pride Of America),” Lee told ITV Racing.
“What I didn’t want to do was leave it too late, so three (furlongs) down I just started giving him a squeeze and tried to keep tabs.
“From then on I knew I was going to get him.”
Royal Rhyme was previously a runaway winner of the valuable Kincsem Handicap at Goodwood and Lee rates this performance as similarly impressive.
A step up in grade now under consideration as the bay holds an entry for the Qipco Champion Stakes and has been cut from 33-1 to 16-1 with Betfair and Paddy Power for that contest.
“It was good, I’d say it was on par” said Lee.
“The ground wasn’t as soft as it was at Goodwood but it was a great performance by him.”