James Tate is looking forward to testing Invincible Army at Group Two level in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York on Wednesday.
The four-year-old looked set to make a splash in the sprint division when winning the Pavilion Stakes on his debut last term before being edged out in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock, but he failed to shine in two subsequent outings before injury curtailed his campaign.
However, he made a really taking reappearance when victorious in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in March, where the reopposing Major Jumbo was back in second, and Tate is eager to step up from that Listed verdict.
He said: “He made a great comeback at Doncaster and this has been the plan ever since.
“He’s been in great form at home so we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do, this has very much been the plan.
“If anything, slower rather than quicker is ideal, but we’re going to be racing on the first day of the season at York so I’ll be disappointed if it’s not nice ground and that should be fine for him.”
Yafta was a Group Three victor last term but was edged out on the line by Keystroke on his reappearance in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in April.
He did not enjoy the clearest of runs before making a late dash for the line and hopes are high Richard Hannon’s charge enjoys better fortune this time.
Richard Hills, racing manager for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “He’s absolutely flying and Richard’s team are really, really chuffed with him.
“He was making a challenge between horses at Newmarket, but was stopped in his run and lost momentum. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I thought he was an unlucky loser.
“He was hardly out of the first two last year. He’s a proper warrior, hence why we kept him as a four-year-old.
“He’s got the speed for six furlongs and the stamina for seven, so he’s a versatile horse and I couldn’t say what his best trip is. Obviously we’re stepping up in grade at York and it’s a cracking race, but he’s a decent horse.
“Whether he can get to Group One level, we don’t know, but this is the next step up and he tries so hard.”
Kevin Ryan fields three of the 10 runners in Brando, Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo.
Brando was third in the Abernant and finished second in this race last year, while Major Jumbo has claimed third in the Palace House since his Doncaster run and Hey Jonesy has had just one all-weather start this season.
Ryan said: “All three horses are going into the race in very good form.
“Brando is solid and never runs a bad race. Jonesy ran well on his comeback run and Major Jumbo ran a great race at Newmarket. All three horses are in good order.”
Henry Candy’s Limato and the Roger Charlton-trained Projection are other key names, while George Bowen (Richard Fahey), El Astronaute (John Quinn) and Ornate (David Griffiths) complete the line up.