Dubai: Following his impressive victory in the Duke Of York Stakes (G2), on the first day of the Dante Festival at York Racecourse on Wednesday, three major Group 1 sprint races on the British flat-racing calendar are the principal targets for Dubai-owned Invincible Army.
Ridden by J.P. McDonald for trainer James Tate, the son of Invincible Spirit quickened like a rocket inside the final furlong to fly past his rivals for a comfortable 2 ½ length victory in the six furlong contest.
The winner is owned by Dubai businessman Saeed Manana who has been responsible for several champion racehorses during a career that began in the eighties.
Major Jumbor, with Jamie Spencer on board, ran on for second while Jim Crowley and Yafta stayed on for third, ¾ lengths further back.
Yafta raced in the famous blue and white silks of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, who won the Duke of York two seasons ago with Tasleet.
Tate acknowledged that Invincible Army had gifted him the biggest win of his career and said on television: “You have to think of Group 1s only from here on. He gets six furlongs well, so we’ve only got the Diamond Jubilee, the Sprint Cup and the Champions Sprint, which will be the three main targets.
“We always thought he’d get to the top one day. His dam [Rajeem], who Saeed Manana raced, didn’t win her Group 1 until she was four and neither did Invincible Spirit, so we always hoped this would be his year and that was part of the reason we put him away so quickly last season.
“That’s our biggest win.”
British bookmakers quickly reacted to Invincible Army’s manner of victory with Paddy Power making him the 7-2 favourite from 8-1 for the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot in June while Sky Bet trimmed his odds to 8-1 (from 14s).
Tate was rejoicing in the moment and added: “That’s a local win. I was born in Harrogate and grew up in Tadcaster, you can’t get more local than that!”
Meanwhile, the Roger Varian-trained Nausha earned herself a vote for the Epsom Oaks in two weeks’ time after springing a surprise to win the Group 3 Musidora Stakes for three-year-old fillies which is run over a distance of 1 mile, 2 furlongs
Varian said: “I was really delighted with this performance. She’ll probably be left in the Oaks tomorrow but we’ll consider all options.”