Joining the exodus: Top Rank sold to Australia to to join Zaaki trainer Annabel Neasham

Horse Racing Top Rank going to Australia
Top Rank: Doncaster Mile winner leaving James Tate to join Annabel Neasham in Sydney. Photo: James Tate Racing

By Jon Lees

GB: Lockinge Stakes third Top Rank has joined the talent exodus to Australia after being sold to join the booming Sydney stable of Zaaki’s trainer Annabel Neasham.

The five-year-old G3 winner, who was the best horse in James Tate’s Newmarket yard, has been bought by Australian Bloodstock following his latest run in Ascot’s Summer Mile in July.

Top Rank, a grey son of Dark Angel, has won six of his 12 starts, beginning 2021 with victory in the Doncaster Mile (Listed), having won the G3 Superior Mile last year.

“It’s a commercial decision because the people buying him can earn more money from him out there than Saeed Manana can earn money from him here,” said Tate. “They made an offer which was more than he is worth to stay racing over here.

“Saeed is most interested in producing stallions and mares, so recently we’ve retired Invincible Army, Far Above and Hey Gaman and then mares like Under The Stars who are all going to be breeding.

“Top Rank wasn’t really a commercial stallion for over here because he didn’t win a Group race till he was four. When we were offered the money the commercial decision was made to take it.”

In his two runs at G1 level, Top Rank was twice beaten by Palace Pier, finishing seventh lengths behind the champion miler in the Lockinge, and just over five lengths down when sixth in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Zaaki, who has taken Australia by storm rattling off four Group wins, including a seven-length victory in the G1 Doomben Cup, was rated 3lb inferior to Top Rank when he left Britain. 

“I hope Top Rank can follow in Zaaki’s footsteps,” said Tate. “Zaaki was not far off Top Rank so they will be targeting the same kind of races.

“He had been running really well all year. My only concern would be what going he would get out there. Up to this point he showed a preference for easy ground, but Dark Angels can cope with faster ground as they get older.”

He added: “Saeed and I picked out Top Rank together from Book Three for 26,000gns and now he has moved on for a sum considerably more than that. We have had a Listed and Group 3 success and a third in the Lockinge, and we wish him well for new connections while trying to find the next one.”

• Visit the James Tate Racing website

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