Tag Archive for: Task force

Rossa Ryan hoping Task Force can complete Group One mission

Rossa Ryan is eager to test Task Force’s potential when he lines up in Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Ralph Beckett’s charge is certainly bred to be a world beater as a son of Frankel out of a 1000 Guineas winner in Special Duty, and he has made an impact in winning each of his two starts to date.

A three-and-a-quarter-length winner on debut at Salisbury in July, Task Force took a jump to Listed level in his stride when coming home a cosy winner at Ripon at the end of last month.

Ryan was particularly impressed on the latter occasion and expects to find out plenty more about the colt when he switches to Group One company this weekend.

He said: “He has done everything right so far and his Listed race at Ripon is working out really well. 

“Quite a lot impressed me about him the last day as his win didn’t really feel like a race, it felt more like a piece of work as he was doing it that easily. 

“I know this is a massive leap forward into a Group One, but he has done everything right and you can’t fault him in any manner. 

“He has a very good cruise control and hopefully he can use that at the weekend. As to what his best attribute is I don’t know yet, but hopefully he will answer a few of those questions on Saturday.”

Ryan also has a second Group One ride to look forward to on the card as he teams up again with Symbology in the Cheveley Park Stakes.

The Clive Cox-trained filly was a York maiden winner in July and has since come up short in three Group races, most recently coming home seventh behind the reopposing Juniper Berries in the Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury.

While that form leaves her with something to find, Ryan does not think she will be out of her depth in the six-furlong contest.

He said: “Symbology has done little wrong, although the last day things didn’t quite go to plan. She is in good health. It is a very good race and we will see how she goes. 

“On her home work she has shown the ability to be able to perform at this level, but in the Group races she has run in up until now she has just been a bit green.

“Hopefully that won’t be the case in the Cheveley Park.”

The bet365 Cambridgeshire is the other highlight on the card, with 35 runners set to tackle the nine-furlong distance.

Ryan is on a likely longshot in Alan King’s Paradias, but he would not be surprised should the four-year-old outrun his double-figure odds.

He added: “Paradias has been consistent enough and he hasn’t done too much wrong. However, he is off a career-high mark.

“He looked like winning the race the last day at York with me, but he just hung across the track.

“We are dropping back to one mile, one furlong from a mile and a half so we will see how he goes back down in trip, although he has won over it before.”

Task Force ready for Middle Park mission

Task Force looks set to represent race sponsors Juddmonte in this weekend’s Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, with Saturday’s Mill Reef hero Array more likely to wait for a possible tilt at the Dewhurst Stakes next month.

The Andrew Balding-trained Array notched his second win from five career starts in Group Two company at Newbury and retains the option of turning out just seven days later for a Group One assignment on the Rowley Mile.

However, while no final decision has been made, Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon raised the possibility of the youngster instead being supplemented for the Dewhurst on October 14.

He said: “We left Array in to keep options open until we speak with the ownership group, but it’s probably less likely that he’ll run and we’ll see if the owners would like to give consideration to the Dewhurst a couple of weeks later.

“We just said we’d leave him in there (Middle Park) in case there was a lot of rain and the ground came up on the soft side, as he obviously showed he liked that on Saturday.

“He came out of the race so well Andrew just said we’d keep our options open.

“He’s not in the Dewhurst, so he’d have to be supplemented. Once we’ve spoken to the ownership group we’ll come up with a plan.”

Task Force, a son of two Guineas winners in Frankel and Special Duty, impressed on his debut for Ralph Beckett at Salisbury before landing a Listed prize at Ripon and further improvement can be expected.

Mahon added: “He’s an intended runner in the Middle Park. He’s in good form, Ralph is happy with him and he worked nicely on Saturday.

“It’s a big jump from a Listed race to a Group One, but he’s a well-bred horse and we’re hopeful he can make the jump.”

Beckett has a second string to his bow in the supplemented Sirenia Stakes winner Starlust, while Aidan O’Brien has confirmed Battle Cry, Military and Coventry Stakes hero River Tiber, with the last-named colt the obvious candidate as he looks to bounce back from defeat in the Prix Morny.

Vandeek winning the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood
Vandeek winning the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He could renew rivalry with the winner of that Group One contest at Deauville six weeks ago, Simon and Ed Crisford’s Vandeek.

The William Haggas-trained Gimcrack winner Lake Forest and Paddy Twomey’s Round Tower Stakes victor Letsbefrankaboutit also feature among 13 contenders.

Fourteen fillies remain in the mix for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, with Relief Rally the potential favourite for the Haggas team.

The daughter of Kodiac’s only defeat in five starts to date came at Royal Ascot when beaten a nose by American raider Crimson Advocate in the Queen Mary, since when she has landed the Super Sprint at Newbury and the Lowther Stakes at York.

Her potential rivals include unbeaten French-trained filly Jasna’s Secret, Donnacha O’Brien’s Porta Fortuna, Aidan O’Brien’s Cherry Blossom and the consistent Soprano from George Boughey’s yard.

A top-class card gets under way with the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, in which Solario Stakes winner Aablan must be considered a major player for Charlie Appleby.

Aidan O’Brien is responsible for six of the 18 acceptors, with Capulet perhaps the most interesting having pushed stablemate Diego Velazquez close in a Leopardstown Group Two last time.

Roger Varian’s pair of Al Musmak and Defiance are also on the list, as are Ollie Sangster’s unbeaten youngster Per Contra and Beckett’s Macduff, runner-up to Al Musmak in a Haydock Listed event last time in the Juddmonte silks.

Mahon added: “It’s a possibility Macduff will run, it’s not a definite. We left him in there and we’ll see how he is during the week.

“I think we’ve said a few times he’s a big horse and it’s all about next year with him, but he seems in good shape and we’ll give strong consideration to running him.

“The horse that beat him at Haydock looked a very good horse that day, but you’re always hoping on a different day, on a different track and with a different set-up you might get a different result. You should never be afraid to give it a go.”

Greek Order in action at Newbury
Greek Order in action at Newbury (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Juddmonte team are also responsible for the ante-post favourite for the bet365 Cambridgeshire in Harry and Roger Charlton’s Greek Order.

A winner at Sandown in May and Newbury last month, the three-year-old will look to complete his hat-trick in the prestigious handicap.

Mahon said: “I’m looking forward to seeing him – he was very impressive on his last start.

“You’re always going to need a lot of luck in a Cambridgeshire with plenty of runners, but the ground should be OK and hopefully we get a nice draw and everything goes well.”

The weights for the Cambridgeshire are headed by Daniel and Claire Kubler’s York scorer Astro King, who is 1lb above the King and Queen’s Saga.

Westover pleasing Beckett ahead of Arc challenge

Westover enjoyed a trip to the beach on Friday as his bid for glory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe looms ever closer.

Last season’s Irish Derby hero was not beaten far into sixth place in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest last season and will return to Paris next weekend following an excellent campaign so far.

Second to Japanese ace Equinox in Dubai earlier in the year, Ralph Beckett’s four-year-old has since finished chased home Emily Upjohn in the Coronation Cup and won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud before going down by a head to Hukum in a pulsating renewal of the King George at Ascot.

The son of Frankel has been kept fresh since that late July outing and is reported to be in rude health following a racecourse gallop at his trainer’s local track and a spin on the sand.

“Westover went to Salisbury last Friday and to Hayling Island beach this Friday and both exercises went well,” said Beckett.

“It suited him to just take the edge off him ahead of Longchamp and he’s shown he can handle any ground between the extremes.”

Task Force and Rossa Ryan stayed unbeaten at Ripon
Task Force and Rossa Ryan stayed unbeaten at Ripon (Ripon Racecourse)

Also set to be in Group One action next weekend for Beckett and Westover’s owners Juddmonte is the regally-bred juvenile Task Force.

By Frankel and out of another Guineas winner in Special Duty, the youngster has looked the part so far in winning a Salisbury maiden and a Listed race at Ripon, earning him a shot at the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Beckett added: “Task Force will go for the Middle Park. I was really pleased with him (on Saturday) morning.”

Middle Park assignment for Ripon winner Task Force

Ralph Beckett’s promising Task Force has the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in his sights after a flawless start to his career.

The Frankel two-year-old is unbeaten in two outings, taking a Salisbury maiden that has since produced three further winners before moving up in grade for the Listed Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy Stakes.

In the latter Task Force – who runs in the colours of the Middle Park sponsor – was the winner once again, prevailing by a length and a quarter from stablemate Matters Most with George Scott’s Seven Questions a neck behind that horse in third.

Seven Questions subsequently went down by just a head to the another Beckett runner, Starlust, in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton, leaving the form from both of Task Force’s runs looking increasingly solid.

The Group One Middle Park at Newmarket on September 30 is now on the agenda for the well-bred bay, whose dam is the Cheveley Park Stakes and 1000 Guineas winner Special Duty.

“He’s run two great races and the form has worked out well with the race at Kempton,” said Juddmonte racing manager Barry Mahon.

“He’s in good form, the owners have indicated that they’d like to go to the Middle Park with him at Newmarket.

“Ralph is of the same mind, so that’s where we’re headed with him at the minute.”

Task Force stays unbeaten with Ripon feature triumph

Task Force maintained his unbeaten record with a clear-cut victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy.

A son of two Guineas winners in Frankel and Special Duty, the Ralph Beckett-trained colt made a big impression on his racecourse debut at Salisbury last month, earning him a step up to Listed class.

He was the 11-8 favourite to dispatch of five rivals in North Yorkshire and did so in fine style in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

In the famous Juddmonte silks, Task Force raced enthusiastically at the rear of the field for much of the six-furlong contest before being produced with his challenge widest of all.

He mastered Shagraan and course and distance winner Seven Questions, who was briefly stopped in his run when challenging between the pair, and was good value for the winning margin of a length and a quarter.

The winner’s stablemate Matters Most finished strongly to fill the runner-up spot and provide the in-form Beckett team with a one-two.

Juddmonte’s racing manager, Barry Mahon, said of the winner: “The idea of going to Ripon was to teach him a bit as he didn’t learn much the first day, he hit the gates well and sat handy and was left in front a furlong and a half down, so he probably didn’t learn a lot about racing.

“He’ll have learned plenty there today. You saw how green he was in the early part of there and when Rossa asked him to go he was green, but when the penny dropped away he went.

“It was a nice performance and he could a nice horse.”

Task Force has the option of stepping up to seven furlongs for the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster next month, but plans are fluid at this stage.

“I haven’t spoken to Ralph yet and we need to let the dust settle, but I’ve no doubt seven is going to be right up his street,” Mahon added.

“He’s bred to be a miler in time, so seven furlongs won’t be a problem, but whether Ralph decides to go that way now or later on we’ll wait and see.

“Part of the reason we went back over six furlongs today was because when you look up his mother’s record she never raced beyond six at two and ended up being a dual Guineas winner at three, so there’s no shortage of speed in the pedigree and he showed that today against some hardened two-year-olds.”