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Tate hopes Top Rank can improve again next year

Top Rank is likely to be put away for the winter as connections draw a line through his disappointing performance at Newmarket.

The four-year-old colt went into the Joel Stakes in fine form, on the back of victory in the Group Three Superior Mile at Haydock, only to suffer just his second defeat from seven starts.

The Group Two contest did not go to plan, with James Tate’s charge eventually finishing last of the six runners behind 2000 Guineas winner Kameko.

“It just didn’t play to his strengths,” said Tate.

“He probably wants more of a testing race. That kind of downhill, tailwind, good ground, Newmarket didn’t really suit him, but he’s fine afterwards.

“We haven’t decided fully, but I wouldn’t have thought we’d run him again this season. I thought we’d put him away for next year.

“He’s had a good year – and hopefully he can improve over the winter.”

Top Rank is set to kick off the 2021 campaign over a mile, but Tate will consider stepping the son of Dark Angel up in trip.

“We’ll certainly start him over a mile, but there is a possibility we could try a mile and a quarter at some stage,” added the Newmarket trainer.

“That fast mile at Newmarket seemed a little on the sharp side for him.”

Bickerstaffe bids for Rosebery honours at Ayr

Karl Burke’s Bickerstaffe tests the water at Listed level in the Shadwell Stud/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr on Friday.

The Mayson colt made a thoroughly impressive start to his career over five furlongs at Hamilton at the start of the month and returns to Scotland for a race his trainer won with subsequent Royal Ascot heroine and dual Group One winner Quiet Reflection five years ago.

Burke said: “I wouldn’t say I was surprised he won at Hamilton, but I was a bit surprised by the manner of his performance as he’s bred to stay further than five furlongs.

“He showed a very good turn of foot, the speed figures were very good and the second horse (Cottam Lane) gave the form a bit of a boost by winning at Beverley on Wednesday.

“I’ve no doubt he’ll improve when he steps up to six furlongs as there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree, but he showed so much speed first time out we thought we’d stick at five for now and see how we go.

“Hopefully he’ll run a big race.”

The Spigot Lodge handler has a second string to his bow in the form of Rebel At Dawn. The son of Dandy Man has won just one of his seven starts to date, but has been keeping good company.

“He’s a solid horse who has shown a good level of ability,” Burke added.

“He’s probably just short of Listed class over six furlongs, but coming back to five, he deserves to take his chance.”

Richard Fahey and Kevin Ryan are represented by once-raced winners in Regional and Roman Encounter respectively.

David O’Meara’s Nomadic Empire, fourth in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes a fortnight ago, also features in a 12-strong field.

The Arran Scottish Sprint EBF Fillies’ Stakes also carries Listed status and has attracted 17 hopefuls.

Irish trainer Fozzy Stack saddles American Lady, while the home team includes Fahey’s Exceptional and the James Tate-trained Magical Journey.

The latter has already been placed twice in Listed company, most recently on her latest outing at Pontefract last month.

Tate said: “She’s been knocking on the door in Listed company, so hopefully we’ll get there in the end.

“She’s in very good form and I’m hoping for another good run.”

Newmarket could be next for QEII contender Top Rank

James Tate has the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on September 25 in mind next for Top Rank, although the weather could scupper his plan.

The rapidly-improving four-year-old was impressive at Haydock last time out in the Superior Mile, and Tate has his eyes on a crack at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day.

He would prefer that Top Rank goes to Ascot having contested a Group Two first – but the grey does not want fast ground.

“What I would like to run him in next is the Joel at Newmarket, but he wouldn’t be a fast ground horse,” said Tate.

“That’s the first possible race, so we’ll just have to take it as it comes. Other possibles are the Prix Daniel Wildenstein in France or the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket I’ve entered him in, but that’s over seven and he really would want cut in the ground for that.

“At the end of the year obviously there is the QEII but we’re looking for a Group Two next, ideally.”

Tate went on: “He came out of Haydock in very good order and is crying out for another run. I’d like that to be the Joel, but I would like to see some rain between between now and then.

“I’d rather give him a run in a Group Two before a Group One, but I can see problems in that so we could end up in a Group One straight away. Either way, I think he’s going to be some prospect next year.

“Should he win the QEII then obviously there’s a stud career to think about, but that would be a lovely conversation to have. At this stage I’m going into the autumn thinking we’re going to have fun with him next year.”