ACQUME is poised to add an international dimension to proceedings at York on Saturday, as the Australian sprinter tries to emulate some illustrious compatriots who have succeeded on the Knavesmire.
The Paul Messara-trained Ortensia produced a devastating turn of foot to land the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in 2012 and Acqume, who is trained in Queensland by Toby Edmonds, is one of 25 entries for the William Hill Leading On Course Bookmaker Sprint Handicap.
The daughter of Sepoy has spent the last two months in Britain as a galloping companion to her stable-mate, Houtzen, who is being prepared for a tilt at Royal Ascot next month.
But Edmonds is set to take the wraps of Acqume this week following a pleasing racecourse gallop at Ascot on Monday.
While the three-time winner holds an alternative engagement over six furlongs on Friday, Trent Edmonds – assistant trainer to his father and the man tasked with overseeing Acqume this week – said an outing over the minimum trip at York was the preferred option.
“We want to run her this week and we’ll have a look at both races, but I think the five-furlong option would be more up her alley first up and we’ll probably kick her off over that trip,” Edmonds said.
Having arrived on these shores at the end of March, Acqume has been stabled at Abington Place in Newmarket and Edmonds reports the mare to have flourished in her new surroundings.
“She took a little while to settle in and she had a few little niggles, but she seems to be through all of that now,” he said.
“The last four or five weeks have been super – she’s thriving.”
Allocated an official rating of 96, Edmonds admits to being unsure of how well handicapped Acqume is ahead of her first start outside of Australia.
However, he is confident conditions at York will suit the mare, who has straight course experience having been beaten just over two lengths in a Listed race at Flemington in November.
“Whatever she does in her first run she’ll improve on, but it’s also a matter of us getting a grasp on the form,” Edmonds added. “I think she’s probably been rated a touch high, but we’ll see where she fits in.
“She didn’t get beaten very far at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day and she handled that well. She’s a big, heavy mare and I don’t think she’s necessarily a firm, firm track horse so the ground in Britain should suit her.”
While Acqume is likely to be a new name for racing fans in this country, plenty of old favourites have also been entered in the £50,000 contest.
They include a trio of representatives for Yorkshire trainer, Tim Easterby, spearheaded by last week’s impressive Knavesmire winner Copper Knight, while David Griffiths has made an entry for the admirable veteran Duke Of Firenze, who has won twice before over this course and distance.
Earlier on the card, the Group 3 William Hill Brontë Cup Fillies’ Stakes will be run for the second time.
John Gosden landed the inaugural renewal of the mile and three-quarter £90,000 contest with Precious Ramotswe and the champion trainer has made two entries this year, including impressive recent Goodwood winner, Enbihaar.
William Haggas may also be double handed courtesy of Alexana and Dramatic Queen, while the Mark Johnston-trained Bayshore Freeway, could try to complete a hat-trick having won handicaps at Bath and Musselburgh earlier this month.