Surfing The Sand

    All-Weather Championships Season 6 gets into full swing this weekend with a stellar card at Lingfield Park - home of the £1 million Finals Day on Good Friday. Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft dissects the two Listed Fast Track Qualifiers and a valuable mile handicap.
  • Thursday 15 November 2018
  • Blog

HAGGAS UNLEASHES CLASSY CONTENDER IN LISTED FEATURE

William Haggas, who won last season’s Easter Classic with Victory Bond, unleashes another potential Middle Distance star in ADDEYBB in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes at Lingfield Park (2.45) on Saturday.

The four-year-old has been highly tried since notching back-to-back wins in the Lincoln and the Group 2 Sandown Mile in the spring, finishing out the back against Europe’s best milers in the Lockinge and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Dropping back in grade, the 117-rated gelding clearly has the class to secure his place in Good Friday’s showpiece by winning this Fast Track Qualifier from a nice draw in stall 2, even though he does have a questions to answer.

He races on an artificial surface for the first time and also steps up in distance to 10f, as well as having to shoulder a 7lb penalty for his Group success. However, this is a steep drop in grade for the son of Pivotal who has form over this distance on turf and has enough in hand of his rivals on these terms to get the job done at the first time of asking.

Haggas‘s decision to aim reigning champion Victory Bond at next week’s Listed Hyde Stakes over a mile at Kempton instead suggests he believes Addeybb has what it takes, and big race jockey James Doyle was enthusiastic about his chances when we chatted at Chelmsford City last week.

Big Country can’t match Addeybb’s CV on turf but has plenty going for him in this sphere and rates the biggest danger. Mick Appleby’s five-year-old is unbeaten in domestic All-Weather races and already has the valuable Rosebery and Lincoln Trial Handicaps to his name.

A 3lb penalty for his Listed win at Pontefract in the summer leaves him with only 4lb in hand of Addeybb, who is 10lb superior on official ratings. That said, he impressed champion jockey Luke Morris in a racecourse gallop at Lingfield a few weeks ago and runs over a trip that is arguably his optimum.

Last year’s winner Master The World, who also went on to land the Group 3 Winter Derby, needs to bounce back from some below-par efforts on turf but excels over course and distance and should be closing them down at the death if he gets a strong enough pace to run at.

David O’Meara runs All-Weather debutant Frankuus, who won the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes for Mark Johnston last year. Like Addeybb, he is a fascinating recruit to the All-Weather but has produced his best form on galloping tracks so has something to prove around Lingfield’s sharp turns.

Stablemate Primero bounced back to winning ways in a hot handicap at Chelmsford and whilst this expensive former French performer might come up short, he does looks capable of building on his revised rating of 102 at some stage.

Meanwhile, Alan King’s Scarlet Dragon came within an ace of winning his sole All-Weather start in the Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton Park last year but dropping back in trip on such a tight track as this after being campaigned over a minimum of 1m4f raises obvious concerns.

MASTER READY TO REPEAT THE FEAT IN LISTED SPRINT

This time last year GIFTED MASTER literally exploded onto the All-Weather scene with victory in the Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes and will be hard to beat again if he brings his ‘A’ game to the party in Saturday’s renewal at Lingfield Park (3.15).

Hugo Palmer’s speedball overcame similarly a wide draw in the Fast Track Qualifier for the Sprint Final, only to run inexplicably below his best on Good Friday.

Since then the five-year-old has excelled in a light campaign, winning a valuable handicap at Newmarket in May before his brilliant victory in the Stewards’ Cup.

At his best when fresh, Gifted Master returns from a three-month break and looks the one they all have to beat in a mouthwatering renewal that features 2017 Sprint champion Kimberella and reigning 3YO champion Corinthia Knight.

The presence of Archie Watson’s chestnut, as well as trailblazers Mythmaker and Gracious John, should guarantee a frenetic gallop from the lids to the line which will suit my selection, who stalked lightning-fast leader Caspian Prince before asserting 12 months ago.

Another fascinating contender is William Haggas’s veteran Muthmir, a triple Group 2 winner who must prove himself over an additional furlong against some battle-hardened 6f sprinters. He could yet emerge as a genuine Good Friday contender though a winter in Dubai looks more likely.

CRISFORD’S SELECTION LOOKS A SMART CHOICE

FIRST SELECTION is unexposed on the All-Weather and can gain his first success on Polytrack in the Class 2 Betway Handicap (1.35) at Lingfield Park on Saturday.

A debut winner on the Southwell Fibresand, this lightly raced five-year-old looks fairly treated on the strength of his narrow course and distance defeat in April. He only just failed to reel in Unforgiving Minute off a 1lb higher mark, with weekend rivals Chevallier and My Target behind.

Without a win since his Group 3 triumph in the Solario Stakes as a juvenile, he returns to the All-Weather a fresh horse and can put himself in the frame for a crack at the Mile Final with victory here.

Original Choice, winner of his only start on sand, also has the credentials to make an impact this winter and complements a strong Lingfield team from the William Haggas powerhouse.

EYECATCHERS

DUBAI LUXURY

Saeed Bin Suroor’s filly fluffed the start of a 7f novice stakes at Chelmsford last Saturday but recovered to finish her race off strongly without being asked a serious question. This daughter of Teofilo is related to an All-Weather winner and can be expected to go one better in similar company next time, possibly even over 1m.

ICONIC GIRL

This compact filly looked well in the preliminaries ahead of last week’s debut for Andrew Balding at Chelmsford City and overcame a sluggish start to finish nicely, just off the radar in fourth behind three more experienced rivals in a 7f novice stakes. She is bred to get further - her dam Snoqualmie Star won over 1m at Kempton and over 10f on turf.

STREAM SONG

John Gosden’s filly has been beaten in both starts on the Polytrack this winter but had legitimate excuses. She found Lingfield too sharp when staying on to be fourth in a Listed race earlier this month and hit a flat spot when a modest pace lifted in a valuable 1m6f handicap at Chelmsford last weekend before running on with purpose. A big galloping track like Newcastle, where Gosden excels, would certainly play to her strengths and a step up to 2m would also be a benefit. She could yet make her mark in the Marathon division.

TREVITHICK

This gelding deserves credit for sticking doggedly to his task after making all in a 1m handicap at Newcastle last week. He rallied again after winner Alfred Richardson edged past him and can defy a 3lb rise. Trevithick has untapped potential on the All-Weather, with form figures of 122. In fact, Bryan Smart’s three-year-old was unlucky to bump into subsequent Group 1 winner Without Parole on that second start on Tapeta.

TWILIGHT

Tim Easterby’s filly couldn’t have arrived at Newcastle last week in better form, having won four out of six on turf and, in doing so, progressing a whopping 20lb up the handicap. She ran a blinder in a 6f fillies’ handicap, sticking on gamely between horses but finding only William Haggas’s progressive Island Of Life too good. Also effective over 7f, she can strike again on the sand in the coming weeks off just a 3lb higher mark.

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