INVINCIBLE ARMY could have a third crack at Group 1 star Sands of Mali, with both horses entered in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, which will be the feature race on the opening day of York’s 2019 season – Wednesday 15 May.
Invincible Army impressed last Saturday when speeding to a two-length success in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster. His trainer, James Tate, had long ear-marked that race as a stepping stone to the £125,000 Group 2, staged over six furlongs on the Knavesmire.
But his four-year-old charge may end up facing old adversary Sands of Mali, who got the better of him in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes back in 2017. The pair were also involved in a thrilling finish to a Group 2 at Haydock last May in which Sands of Mali got up by a nose.
The latter colt went on to top-class glory, scoring on British Champions Day in the feature Sprint last October. As a result of that win he’d have to carry 5lb more at the weights than Invincible Army, should the pair go head to head at York in mid-May.
Newmarket-based Tate said: “It has kind of been the plan since we put him away for a break at the back end of last year, that we’d go for the Cammidge and then the Duke of York.
“He is already a dual Group 3 winner but we got beaten a nose in the Group 2 last year, so we could really do with a win in a Group 2.
“Anything can stop you with a horse, but if he is good on raceday the only thing that would stop us is very fast ground. So we will be hoping it’s not too quick on 15 May.
“I’m very pleased with his development, from what we’ve seen so far. He has been working well and looks bigger and stronger.
“We left a little bit to work on with his prep race and I also loved his attitude at Doncaster. As a two-year-old he was often all over the place – I remember him breaking someone’s foot when they tried to lead him up for a Group 3 at Kempton.
“At Doncaster I thought he was ever so professional, walking around relaxed but confident and he continued that right the way through the race. I think he has improved from three to four, but we’ll get a better test of that in the Duke of York, hopefully.”
In total 37 horses are listed in the initial entry for the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, including three-time Group 1 winner, The Tin Man. Fellow top-class performers Brando, Limato, Suedois in the sponsor’s colours and Mabs Cross are also among those named.
The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May inclusively.