Task Force out to emulate exalted parents in 2000 Guineas

Task Force will be primed to perfection for his Qipco 2000 Guineas tilt after thriving in a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Monday.

The Middle Park runner-up found just sprint star Vandeek too good when visiting Newmarket last autumn and is preparing to step up to a mile on his return to the Rowley Mile for the opening Classic of the season.

Although solely racing at six furlongs in his three starts at two, the Ralph Beckett-trained son of Frankel is bred to be a Guineas contender, with not only his sire a champion at the home of racing but also his dam Special Duty, who was the 1000 Guineas victor in 2010.

Having begun putting the finishing touches to his Guineas preparations with a racecourse sighter over six furlongs, connections are now eagerly looking forward to Task Force’s shot at glory on May 4.

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Ralph Beckett took Task Force for a racecourse gallop on Monday
Ralph Beckett took Task Force for a racecourse gallop on Monday (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The gallop went well and the horse did everything Ralph wanted him to do,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“He worked six furlongs and Ralph came away happy with the horse and it leaves him on track for the Guineas on Saturday week.

“He is bred to win a Classic as he’s by a Guineas winner out of a Guineas winner and there are not many horses who boast a pedigree like that. He’s a nice horse and showed good form last year.

“He’s done well from two to three and has changed shape a lot. We feel he definitely doesn’t look a sprinter and last year he was a bit keen and a bit mentally immature, so we kept him to six furlongs and he had the talent to be able to perform over that distance. Now we’re looking forward to seeing if he can be just as effective to win over a mile.”

Task Force is as short as 12-1 for the 2000 Guineas and with no horse leaping out of the pack with a statement performance during the recent trials, connections hope they are in possession of one of the unexposed candidates who can shape up well against the formidable might of City Of Troy and Rosallion.

Mahon continued: “We’re under no illusions and it’s going to be a hard task to beat the two at the top of the market who both look exceptionally talented colts, but it’s a Classic and we have a horse who has shown Group One form and who we think will stay a mile so we have to give it a go and we’re excited to run him.

“We won’t find out until the day whether we’re up to that standard or not, but it’s nice to be able to partake and if there are any weaknesses in the top two, then we hope we are there to pick up the pieces.”

However, there will not be any Juddmonte representation in the Qipco 1000 Guineas, with the Beckett-trained fillies Skellet and Indelible to sit out the Newmarket action.

Skellet (left) will miss the Qipco 1000 Guineas
Skellet (left) will miss the Qipco 1000 Guineas (Nigel French/PA)



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Skellet was last seen finishing a neck second to Nell Gwyn runner-up Dance Sequence in the Oh So Sharp Stakes but has met with a setback and although the form of Indelible’s two appearances late last year have a smart look to them, her team are keen not to rush her into Classic action.

Both fillies will be given plenty of time to flourish over the next few weeks, with the French and Irish versions of the Guineas possible options available moving forwards.

“They are coming along in their own time and are a little bit behind,” continued Mahon.

“Indelible has just taken a bit of time and Skellet had a small setback that has caused her to miss a couple of days training – nothing of any real significance, just a nuisance of a thing which has meant she’s had to have two or three days off.

“We just said we would sit tight and let them come to themselves and you have a French Guineas 10 or 12 days after the English Guineas and then you have an Irish one in another 10 or 12 days after France and there is no point fitting a square peg in a round hole if they are not ready for Newmarket.”

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