By Jon Lees
James Tate will round off his most successful year as a trainer with his first runners at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, where he will have 14-time Cup-winning jockey Frankie Dettori in his corner.
Newmarket trainer Tate will saddle Hey Gaman – one of two horses that will represent the stable in California – in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, in which Dettori will have the chance to add to last year’s triumph on Expert Eye.
Tate is the nephew of Michael Dickinson, whose extraordinary training feats include winning two versions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile with Da Hoss two years apart, in 1996 and 1998.
Hey Gaman has been a seven-furlong specialist in Europe, winning at Group Three level and twice finishing second in Group Two company this year. He finished sixth in the Prix de la Foret on his latest start.
“A sharp two-turn mile is probably the right sort of thing for him, and we’ve come round to the idea that he prefers faster ground,” said Tate.
“His performances at Leicester, when he won the Group Three at Longchamp and was second in the Group Two in Ireland, which were his best runs, have come on fast ground. We’ve skipped a few races for him recently because the ground has been too soft.”
Tate continued: “Frankie will ride him. He will be a definite asset. In fact I am probably not going to give him instructions. He has ridden the horse and he knows Santa Anita a lot better than me, so what else will there be left to say?”
No jockey has been booked for Tate’s other runner, Dream Shot, who lines up in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
In the two most recent of eight starts, Dream Shot finished second to A’Ali and Dr Simpson, who also contest the Juvenile Turf Sprint, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Tate said: “Dream Shot has done nothing but improve all year. He was fast-finishing in the Flying Childers behind A’Ali, who is obviously well fancied for the race, and then he was fast-finishing against older horses at Dundalk round a sharp left-handed track. He came out of that race in good form so we thought, ‘why not?’.”
Tate is enjoying his most successful year with 70 winners of £900,000 in prize-money in Britain, thanks to the likes of Hey Gaman, Invincible Army and Under The Stars.
“It’s been one of those seasons,” he said.
“We’ve been breaking landmarks all season long so it’s nice to have Breeders’ Cup runners and even nicer to have one of them get their head in front. That’s the dream of a lot of people going there.”