A policy of quality over quantity served James Tate well last winter and the young Newmarket trainer is planning a similar approach to the fourth annual All-Weather Championships.
Tate, a fully qualified equine vet, couldn’t have made a bigger impact on last season’s opening day, winning both Listed features at Lingfield including the Fleur De Lys Stakes, a Fast Track Qualifier for Good Friday, with his stable star Lamar.
She followed up that mile victory with another Fast Track success at Wolverhampton in November, this time over seven furlongs, and further proved her versatility by making the frame against the boys in the Listed Quebec Stakes and Winter Derby Trial over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield.
By Easter, Tate had saddled 18 winners from 80 runners on the All-Weather at an impressive strike rate of 23%. In fact, in the top 20 only Saeed Bin Suroor (34%) and Roger Varian (26%) bettered that strike rate, though it must be noted that both trainers saddled fewer runners.
This winter Tate has assembled another strong team of well bred talent, several of them capable of targeting some of the biggest prizes and emulating the achievements of the remarkable Lamar. He will also introduce some young, unexposed types in maidens and three-year-old handicaps in the New Year.
“It was great to win both Listed races on the opening day last year with Lamar and Urban Castle,” he recalls. “Lamar was brilliant all winter and, all being well, will give birth to a Frankel foal in January. Urban Castle didn’t run again after winning the River Eden Stakes and is in foal to Kingman.”
Tate, son of Yorkshire-based trainer Tom Tate and nephew of the great Michael Dickinson, has enjoyed a healthy return at most of the All-Weather venues, but is clearly the man to follow at Southwell. In the last five years, he has honed a 27% strike rate that has yielded a level stakes profit of £19.69.
His strike rate at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton is a healthy one in five and he is looking forward to exploiting as many opportunities as possible at Britain’s newest All-Weather venue, Newcastle. “It’s a fantastic, fair track that suits gallopers, and I’m looking forward to sending plenty of runners up there,” he adds.
Here, in the company of Simon Mapletoft, Tate spotlights some of his key contenders for the 2016/17 season.
Best Laid Plans
Gold Sands (IRE)
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