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Newmarket trainer James Tate confident Top Rank will make an impression in strong Shadwell Joel Stakes

It is a Group 2 contest with a genuine Group 1 flavouring – and Newmarket trainer James Tate is confident Top Rank will more than hold his own during Friday’s Shadwell Joel Stakes at the Rowley Mile (3.35pm, ITV4).

After making a victorious debut on the all-weather at Lingfield in December 2018, the son of Dark Angel has won on five of his six starts.

The last of those was an impressive one-and-a-half-length triumph in the Group 3 Betfair Superior Mile Stakes at Haydock earlier this month – a performance that convinced Hamilton Road-based Tate to go for tomorrow’s one-mile race instead of Saturday’s bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap.

Top Rank (right) is likely to race in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday. Picture: Bill Selwyn
Top Rank (right) is likely to race in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday. Picture: Bill Selwyn

The opposition will be stiff, with this year’s QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko joined by Saeed bin Suroor’s globe-trotting Benbatl, who is the defending champion.

The likes of Global Giant (John Gosden), Regal Reality (Sir Michael Stoute) and Sir Busker (William Knight) may also go to post.

Nevertheless, Tate feels his four-year-old will prove that he belongs in such company.

“The race is a symptom of the season to some degree,” he said.

“It is not as easy to travel as it once was and so you are finding that autumn targets are having to be altered.

“If you’ve got a horse trained in Britain, then right now you are looking to run it in Britain when perhaps in a normal year you may have gone abroad.

“Because of that some Group 2s are looking like Group 1s but our horse seems to have improved from Haydock and has done nothing but improve all year.

“We won’t entirely know until we try, but I feel like he belongs in a race like this.

“He learned a lot from his day at York (in August) and really impressed me at Haydock.

“He’ll need to take another step forward against some very good horses on Friday, but five wins from six suggests that he is capable.”

Tate is also hoping that the rain which has been forecast comes to fruition.

He added: “We’d like more than a drop of rain for him.

“He’s just won on the soft at Haydock and has had a few issues in the past. He’s a big, strong horse so we’ve had to look after him for quite a while.

“If there was no rain, we may have to look at that and see where we go from there.”