Tate tackles mighty O’Brien stable in bid to capture double

Roger Varian: Paid tribute to retiring York Juddmonte International winner Postponed.
Roger Varian: Paid tribute to retiring York Juddmonte International winner Postponed.
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THIS could be a landmark weekend for Harrogate-born trainer James Tate.

As well as saddling Law And Order in today’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, he has high hopes for the filly Urban Fox in tomorrow’s 1000 Guineas for fillies.

Steeped in racing, his parents James and Hazel train at Tadcaster while his uncle, Michael Dickinson, broke countless records in the National Hunt sphere.

Other than Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, he is the only trainer to have runners in both Classics and he has high hopes for Urban Fox.

“Urban Fox had a foot problem seven weeks ago, which meant that she was off work for two-and-a-half-weeks and went to Newbury on the back of just one gallop, so she cannot have been more than 80 per cent fit,” said Tate, 37, based in Newmarket.

“We didn’t expect her to finish in the first three there, especially as the trip was too short and then they only really raced for the last three furlongs, so I was delighted with that run.

“It’s been plain-sailing since then, she looks a picture, and is ready to run to her best. She has improved with every single race of her life and, although she needs to improve again to have a winning chance, I think that she has a good each-way chance even without improvement.

“She was the tallest filly in the Fillies’ Mile field so does have the scope for further progress and in the one piece of work she has done this year she beat a subsequent winner easily. My reaction to being alongside Aidan O’Brien as the only trainer with a runner in both Guineas is partly one of pride and partly to ask myself ‘am I crazy’?”

Middle-distance champion Postponed has been retired after “suffering a stress fracture”, trainer Roger Varian has announced.

Winner of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2015 when trained by Luca Cumani, the son of Dubawi joined Varian prior to the start of last season and enjoyed a stellar campaign that culminated with success in York’s Juddmonte International under Andrea Atzeni.

Although he was beaten into fifth when favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum sportingly brought him back into training as a six-year-old.

Postponed returned to Meydan earlier this year and filled the runner-up spot in the Dubai City Of Gold before taking third spot in defence of the Sheema Classic.

Varian offered this assessment: “Postponed had all the attributes of the complete champion racehorse – the speed, the stamina, and a telling kick.”

Today’s Thirsk Hunt Cup sees the Scottish stable of Keith Dalgleish attempt to return to winning ways courtesy of Sound Advice and Lat Hawill.

Sound Advice won the Hunt Cup in 2015 and is a proven course specialist – he has won twice at the North Yorkshire track and been runner-up on his only other appearance.

He will be ridden by Rowan Scott, winner of Go Racing In Yorkshire’s Future Stars Apprentice Series last season, as Phil Makin opts to partner recent Musselburgh second Lat Hawill.