James Tate has earmarked the Duke of York Stakes as the first major target this year for his talented sprinter Invincible Army.
The Newmarket trainer plans to give the four-year-old a prep run in the Listed Unibet Cammidge Trophy on the opening day of the turf season at Doncaster on March 30, before taking aim at the six-furlong Group Two prize at York.
After adding a second Group Three victory to his name when making a winning return in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot last May, the son of Invincible Spirit failed to build on that success in three subsequent outings.
Tate said: “Invincible Army lost his way in the second half of the season, but we realised that running on fast ground didn’t really suit him.
“We decided to give him a nice break and prepare him for this season. He is going really well at the moment.
“He has been second in three Group Two races, including when beaten a nose in the Sandy Lane last year – and my first task is to make him a Group Two winner.
“The Duke of York will be his aim. All being well, he will have a prep in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster.”
A drop down to Listed level, and further raids over to France, could be on the cards for last year’s French 2000 Guineas runner-up Hey Gaman – who was campaigned at the highest level on four of his six starts in 2018.
Tate added: “His best performance last year was when he finished second in the French 2000 Guineas.
“His favoured conditions look to be going right-handed on a turning track on soft ground, so I can see him making a lot more trips across the English Channel.
“I’ve not set any targets yet. But as he no longer has a Listed penalty, we might start him there and go up through the grades.
“If the opportunity came up in Group One, with the right conditions, we would have a look at it. Being a large build of a horse, this should be his year.”