After a number of near misses, James Tate was able to celebrate his first Group victory on Saturday.
It was Invincible Army — runner-up at the recent Bombay Sapphire Molecomb Stakes and Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes — that delivered the goods for the Hamilton Road-based trainer, finishing ahead of the field in the Group 3 totepool Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park.
Positioned nicely behind the early pace setters, the pre-race favourite picked off long-time leader Corinthia Knight inside the final furlong and strode on to win by a length-and-a-half.
And there was double reason for celebration following confirmation that Invincible Army’s winning time of one minute and 11.02 seconds was a new two-year-old course record.
“We are delighted with the result — he seemed to bounce off the surface,” said Tate.
“His last two outings have been on softer ground and that seems to blunt his turn of foot.
“It was lovely to see him get some firmer ground and produce something near to his best.
“I always believed he was a Group-winning horse and now he has proved that convincingly.
“He also broke the course record, which shows just how good a horse he is.”
The son of Invincible Spirit has entries for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury later this month and the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes as part of Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting.
However, the autumnal weather could prompt Tate to hold the two-year-old back until 2018.
“We will train for the Mill Reef but if that turns soft, we will miss that one,” he added.
“It is the same with the Middle Park. He is going to need good to firm ground to do himself justice.
“Obviously in October very few races are run on the type of ground he likes, so it may be a case of having to wait.”
In contrast, another of Tate’s stable stars — Hey Gaman — will be hoping for soft ground during Saturday’s Group 2 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (3pm).
“He needs soft ground,” Tate said of the colt, who has won three of his previous four races and will once again have jockey Martin Harley in the saddle.
“He is in good form and we believe there is much more to come.”
After winning at Yarmouth in July, Hey Gaman went on to clinch the Adnams Mosaic EBF Stallions Conditions Stakes at Newmarket in the same month.
And that was followed by a further success during last month’s Denford Stakes at Newbury.