Task Force stays unbeaten with victory in Ripon feature

Task Force maintained his unbeaten record with a clear-cut victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy.

A son of two Guineas winners in Frankel and Special Duty, the Ralph Beckett-trained colt made a big impression on his racecourse debut at Salisbury last month, earning him a step up to Listed class.

He was the 11-8 favourite to dispatch of five rivals in North Yorkshire and did so in fine style in the hands of Rossa Ryan.

In the famous Juddmonte silks, Task Force raced enthusiastically at the rear of the field for much of the six-furlong contest before being produced with his challenge widest of all.

He mastered Shagraan and course and distance winner Seven Questions, who was briefly stopped in his run when challenging between the pair, and was good value for the winning margin of a length and a quarter.

The winner’s stablemate Matters Most finished strongly to fill the runner-up spot and provide the in-form Beckett team with a one-two.

Juddmonte’s racing manager, Barry Mahon, said of the winner: “The idea of going to Ripon was to teach him a bit as he didn’t learn much the first day, he hit the gates well and sat handy and was left in front a furlong and a half down, so he probably didn’t learn a lot about racing.

“He’ll have learned plenty there today. You saw how green he was in the early part of there and when Rossa asked him to go he was green, but when the penny dropped away he went.

“It was a nice performance and he could a nice horse.”

Task Force has the option of stepping up to seven furlongs for the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster next month, but plans are fluid at this stage.

“I haven’t spoken to Ralph yet and we need to let the dust settle, but I’ve no doubt seven is going to be right up his street,” Mahon added.

“He’s bred to be a miler in time, so seven furlongs won’t be a problem, but whether Ralph decides to go that way now or later on we’ll wait and see.

“Part of the reason we went back over six furlongs today was because when you look up his mother’s record she never raced beyond six at two and ended up being a dual Guineas winner at three, so there’s no shortage of speed in the pedigree and he showed that today against some hardened two-year-olds.”

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