Aside from the multiple Irish Champion, Aidan O’Brien, Newmarket handler James Tate will be the only trainer represented in both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas as the QIPCO Guineas Festival takes place at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse this weekend (6th and 7th May).
The two Group 1 races, both run over a mile and each worth £500,000 in prize money, are the first two Classics of the 2017 season and kick off the 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series which culminates in QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, 21st October.
37-year-old Tate will saddle Law And Order against the cream of Europe’s three-year-old generation in Saturday’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas and then, 24 hours later, Urban Fox faces the same task against the top fillies in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
A Listed winner in the International Trial Stakes at Lingfield on 18th April, Law And Order went on to finish third when trying to give weight all round in the Listed bet365 Feilden Stakes over nine furlongs of the Rowley Mile ten days later.
Law And Order was also Group placed as a two-year-old, though not in quite such lofty company as his stablemate, Urban Fox, who followed a third place in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster by filling the same position in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October.
Her spring training programme was interrupted by a foot injury but, despite fears about a lack of fitness, she still managed to take second place in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury on 22nd April.
All the colts at the head of the ante post betting market were among the final field of ten runners declared today for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Churchill, last year’s Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes hero, will be ridden by Ryan Moore and break from stall 3; French challenger Al Wukair (Gregory Benoist) has been allotted stall 7; the Group 3 Greenham Stakes winner, Barney Roy (James Doyle) has stall 5; and two members of the first crop of the outstanding dual World Champion, Frankel, Eminent (Jim Crowley) and Dream Castle (Silvestre de Sousa), will be housed in stalls 2 and 10 respectively.
James Tate, trainer of Law And Order and Urban Fox, said:
“Law And Order was a bit too free in the early stages under his Listed penalty in the Feilden Stakes and then failed to stay the mile and a furlong. He will obviously have to step up a good deal on that form but I am hopeful that a strong pace over the stiff mile will bring out the best in him.”
“He’s a big strong horse, who seems to get bigger every time I see him, and he takes his racing incredibly well - he’s the type that you could run every week. It looks a very high quality renewal of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and I am just happy to be part of it.”
“Urban Fox had a foot problem seven weeks ago, which meant that she was off work for two and a half weeks and went to Newbury on the back of just one gallop, so she cannot have been more than 80 per cent fit.”
“We didn’t expect her to finish in the first three there, especially as the trip was too short and then they only really raced for the last three furlongs, so I was delighted with that run.”
“It’s been plain sailing since then, she looks a picture, and is ready to run to her best. She has improved with every single race of her life and, although she needs to improve again to have a winning chance, I think that she has a good each way chance even without improvement.”
“She was the tallest filly in the Fillies’ Mile field so does have the scope for further progress and in the one piece of work she has done this year she beat a subsequent winner easily.”
“My reaction to being alongside Aidan O’Brien as the only trainer with a runner in both Guineas is partly one of pride and partly to ask myself ‘am I crazy?’.”