Surfing The Sand

France stages the last of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £150,000 Sprint Final on Good Friday, the Prix Anabaa at Chantilly on Tuesday, and our All-Weather specialist Simon Mapletoft previews the race.

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Tuesday’s French Fast-Track Qualifier, the Prix Anabaa at Chantilly (3.10), is the final opportunity for a guaranteed place in the £150,000 Sprint Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.

Live on Sky Sports Racing, it’s the 23rd of 25 Fast-Track races this season – with the final pair taking place at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford City respectively on Saturday – and could be at the mercy of Andre Fabre’s promising son of Frankel, SYRTIS.

This lightly raced colt takes a significant drop in trip on his first start since winning a 1m conditions race in heavy ground at Saint Cloud in November.

A strong traveller, he doesn’t look short of speed and the fact his dam was a sprint winner at Listed level and his half-brother a smart operator on sand further strengthens his claim under top rider Mickael Barzalona.

Another big race rider Christophe Soumillon continues his association with Spinning Memories who couldn’t land a blow in the Abbaye on Arc Day but did beat Dean Ivory’s Stake Acclaim in a Group 3 on turf at Deauville last August after finishing a creditable fourth to Advertise in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Though her All-Weather experience is limited, she is smart enough to take a hand.

Tour To Paris, who ran well in a 7f Meydan handicap last week, had the re-opposing Bakoel Koffie well beaten in a soft ground Listed event on turf in the autumn and has the overall form, including on artificial surfaces, to confirm that superiority.

Bakoel Koffie – second in this last year - has kept some fair company this winter and has run better than his form figures suggest, finishing a close fifth in a Fontainebleau conditions race before coming home just behind British challenger Gulliver in last week’s 6f Group 3 in Qatar.

We Go has Pierre-Charles Boudot in the plate and comes into the race in great form after back-to-back wins, but will need to better his small-field success over this trip at Cagnes-Sur-Mer last time to take this.

A conditions race over 6.5f, the Prix Anabaa has been won by some smart horses in recent years, including the 2018 Sprint champion City Light, who had the distinction of becoming the only horse to defeat All-Weather king Kachy before he so tragically lost his life last month, doing what he did best. 

Lucky Team, who was third to City Light at Chantilly, also ran on Finals Day two years ago but stepped up in trip to spring a surprise in the Mile. He re-appears in the 1m Prix Montjeu on the same card, presumably with the intention of heading back to Lingfield for a repeat bid next month.

The 2016 winner Signs Of Blessing didn’t take up his invitation to Finals Day but showed his class by finishing third in that summer’s Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, while in 2015, Suedois took the honours before joining David O’Meara for an illustrious career that includes a Grade 1 Stateside.

Twelve months agoForza Capitano won the Anabaa before finishing seventh to Kachy on Good Friday.

Surfing The Sand
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