Trainer Ralph Beckett
Trainer Ralph Beckett

Task Force team taking patient approach after 2000 Guineas run

Connections of Task Force are keen to give the colt plenty of time to recover from his 2000 Guineas exertions, feeling there will be lots to come from their charge later in the year.

Trained by Ralph Beckett, the regally-bred son of Frankel headed to Newmarket for the opening Classic of the season on the back of a promising two-year-old campaign which ended with a runner-up effort behind Vandeek in the Middle Park Stakes in the autumn.

Sent off a 16/1 shot on his Rowley Mile reappearance, Task Force came home seventh of the 11 colts that headed to post, beaten just shy of seven lengths behind impressive winner Notable Speech.

Having pressed plenty of buttons to have the lightly-raced three-year-old enter the stalls in tip-top order, connections are now keen to bide their time and allow him to strengthen before deciding on a next assignment.

“We were disappointed not to win, but we were happy and Rossa (Ryan) felt he was still a little on the weak side,” said Barry Mahon, European racing manager for owners Juddmonte.

“He’s a May foal and he only turned three a day or two before the Guineas, so we felt he was a little on the weak side and will improve as the season goes on and he gets stronger.

“We will just give him a little chance now. We trained him hard to get him to the Guineas, so we will give him a chance and let him strengthen and then pick our target in a month or six weeks’ time.”

He went on: “It was a big task to get him to the Guineas first time up – you have to train them hard enough – and it is for some and not for others.

“As we saw with the favourite and a few others who may not have run their race, they are no doubt still very good horses and will come back to themselves later in the year.”

Having raced exclusively at six furlongs during his juvenile season, Task Force was appearing at a mile for the first time in his tilt at the 2000 Guineas, with his team happy to continue plying his trade at that distance when he returns to action.

Mahon continued: “I think he ran a race of promise. I know you would like to be contesting a bit closer to the winner but I thought with all said, he ran with promise, he settled and saw it out well enough, so I think the mile was no problem.

“I didn’t see anything on Saturday, and Ralph didn’t see anything, to suggest the mile is an issue, so I think we are all happy with the distance and it is just a case of getting him a little stronger.”

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