Yorkshire on top again with Pilgrim in Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap

The father-and-daughter training partnership of David & Nicola Barron registered its first Royal Ascot win with Pilgrim in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap on Friday.

Joe Fanning and Pilgrim snatch victory in Palace of Holyroodhouse, picture Liesl King

It was a sixth success at this year’s Royal Meeting for Yorkshire trainers, following Ed Bethell, Karl Burke and Kevin Ryan.

Pilgrim (18/1), who is owned by Digby Atkinson and was the mount of the evergreen Joe Fanning, beat Blue Storm, No Half Measures and Woodhay Wonder. The distances were half a length, three quarters of a length and a head.

Fanning said: “We have liked Pilgrim a lot since he was a two-year-old. I thought it was a weak race at Musselburgh he won, but he got hammered in the handicap and I was kicking myself a bit to win by that far [five and a half lengths].

“He is genuine and very straightforward. The boss said to change tactics today to probably get a lead, as it’s hard to make it here. He travelled so comfortably all the way and won really well.

“I like his attitude. I think this is his trip – he’s sharpened up a bit since last year, but we did like him and then he was gelded over the winter and he’s filled out.

“It’s great to get another winner here - they are hard to get!”

Winning owner Digby Atkinson said: “Pilgrim has run a great race. He ran a good race last time out, and to win here today, at the Royal Meeting, is marvellous. It really is fantastic. We’ve had a horse come third here before, so to have a winner is exceptional.

“Nicola is with her daughter doing some university things and David has got a shed-load of runners tomorrow and the day after, so with Nicola being away, he’s tied up at home and can’t be here.

“He won by five and a half lengths at Musselburgh, and we thought Joe might have overegged it, but in hindsight, the handicapper put him up 11lb. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been here today because he wouldn’t have got in.”

6.15pm Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap
1 Pilgrim (H D Atkinson) David & Nicola Barron 3-9-01 Joe Fanning 18/1
2 Blue Storm (David Lowe) Gemma Tutty 3-9-03 Hollie Doyle 18/1
3 No Half Measures (R Gallagher) Richard Hughes 3-8-13 George Rooke 50/1
4 Woodhay Wonder (Matthew Webber & Toby Ward) Tom Ward 3-9-07 Tom Marquand 10/1
28 ran                5/1F Jubilee Walk (11th)

David & Nicola Barron– 1st winner
Joe Fanning – 10th Royal Ascot winner