Invincible Army bounced back from his Royal Ascot “blip” to win the Group Three Betfair Exchange Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle.
Just a week after failing to run to expectations when seventh behind the brilliant Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, James Tate’s colt triumphed emphatically for the third time this season.
Invincible Army and PJ McDonald overcame a slow start to lead a field of six after two furlongs, and were never headed thereafter as they justified 10-11 favouritism by two and a quarter lengths from Laugh A Minute.
McDonald knew immediately Invincible Army was back in top form, and praised Tate for taking the bold decision to run again so quickly after the return to an all-weather surface had paid off.
“You could see with the naked eye that he was back on song – and that was the most important thing,” said the winning jockey.
“I have to give James a lot of credit, because it would have been very easy to wrap this horse up and back off him – looking for problems that weren’t there.
“It was a blip at Ascot. But this was a nice confidence-booster for him – and now the horse’s season is back on track we can go forward from here.”
Philip Robinson, representing winning owner Saeed Manana, said: “That was the way it should have been, and what we expected.
“He didn’t run his race at Ascot. He’s run moderate races there before, and it might just be that he’s not an Ascot horse.”
Connections will take their time before committing to Invincible Army’s next target.
“It will probably be a bit quick after two quick races to run in the July Cup, so we’ll probably wait,” said Robinson.
“If he goes back on the grass we want to make sure we get some cut in the ground, so we might wait for Haydock (Sprint Cup), or we might look at France (Prix Maurice de Gheest) if they get a bit of cut out there.
“We’ll have a chat with the owner, but at least he’s come back and shown his full capability again.”