James Tate has contingency plans for Top Rank should the unbeaten four-year-old fail to make the cut for this month’s Unibet Lincoln at Doncaster.
The Newmarket trainer may not necessarily go for the Spring Mile, the consolation race for the first big handicap of the turf season which will be run on the same card on March 28.
Tate could consider the Doncaster Mile – another race on the same day – but he would be reluctant to run the grey on testing ground for his first run of the campaign.
If that was the case, Tate might instead wait for the Craven meeting at Newmarket next month.
“He’s a lovely horse. He’s done very well over the winter, and we rate him very highly,” he said of the unbeaten four-year-old.
“If he didn’t get in the Lincoln I’m not sure we’d go for the consolation. I’ll think about it.
“There’s a Listed race at Doncaster the same day, or there’s a race for him at the Craven meeting at Newmarket.
“The ground will play a part too. While I think he’ll appreciate a bit of cut in the ground, whether I want to set him off first time on very soft ground is a different matter.
“I’ll see what the forecast is for the next couple of weeks. On the other hand, it was very soft the last jumps meeting I saw at Doncaster, so we’ll see.”
The Craven meeting, or Newbury the same week in April, could see the reappearance of Tate’s Qipco 1000 Guineas hopeful Under The Stars.
The daughter of Night Of Thunder cost only 6,000 guineas as a yearling, yet has already won £138,000 in prize money.
That was mainly down to her success in a valuable sales race at Newmarket in October – but she also won the Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot and was not beaten far in three other major Group races for fillies, the Lowther, the Moyglare Stud and Rockfel Stakes.
“She’s in very good form, very happy with herself,”said Tate.
“She’s not the biggest but she doesn’t think that and she’s done really well.
“She’s going really well, and we’re going to go for either the Nell Gwyn or the race at Newbury what was the Fred Darling – followed probably by the English Guineas.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun with her.”