James Tate is considering several options for Top Rank following his third place in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Having claimed a sixth win from his first eight career starts with a comeback victory in the Doncaster Mile in late March, the grey stepped up to Group One level for the first time in Saturday’s feature event.
While he was ultimately no match for the brilliant winner Palace Pier, or improving mare Lady Bowthorpe, Top Rank was comfortably best of the rest and Tate is looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season has in store.
He said: “He’s come out of the race in good order. It was his debut effort in a Group One and if you’d told me on the morning of the race that we’d finish third, I’d have been happy enough with that, but we prefer winning.
“We knew Palace Pier would be hard to beat. You should never be afraid of one horse because anything can happen, but nothing did happen other than Palace Pier won easily!”
A potential rematch with Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot could be next on Top Rank’s agenda, although connections are not short of alternatives should they wish to head elsewhere.
“We have loads of options going forward at Group One, Group Two and Group Three level, but nothing before Royal Ascot,” Tate added.
“I think we’ll train him for the Queen Anne. We’ll see how he is, how the field is shaping up and what the ground is like and then decide whether to let him take his chance.
“Later on there are races like the Summer Mile at Ascot and the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville. I wouldn’t be afraid to drop him back to seven furlongs, which brings in the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh, the Hungerford at Newbury and the Park Stakes at Doncaster.
“There’s also the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown, so there’s plenty of suitable races for him and a few different factors will decide where he ends up.
“He’s a bit stronger and a bit more muscular and heavier than he used to be, so I don’t think he necessarily wants really soft ground – just good ground would be perfect for him.”