BIG WEIGHT NO BARRIER TO SPRINT KING KACHY
Sprint king KACHY sets out on his unorthodox journey to Good Friday Finals Day on Saturday when he makes his eagerly anticipated return in a Lingfield Park handicap.
Connections had to plot a new route to the £1 million spectacle after their reigning champion missed his intended re-appearance in the Listed Cleves Stakes at the Surrey track a fortnight ago.
A third consecutive victory in that Fast Track Qualifier (for which he was the odds-on favourite) would have guaranteed his place in the Sprint Final but the seven-year-old was withdrawn just minutes before the off after a swelling was discovered near his off-hind hock.
Kachy hasn’t run on the All-Weather since last year’s Final and with next week’s 5f Listed Hever Sprint likely to be overlooked, may now be set to make the mandatory three appearances for the right to defend his title outside of pattern company.
The last remaining Qualifier in France in early March - the Prix Anabaa over 6.5f - offers him the chance to get there in two, but connections have expressed reservations about travelling him overseas and racing right-handed around Chantilly.
Tom Dascombe’s explosive entire, who boasts a lofty rating of 114, shoulders 10st 2lb in the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap (2.35) this weekend and should be able to give weight and a beating to inferior opposition.
Nicely drawn to attack from stall four, the course record holder runs in a handicap for only the second time on sand. He carried 9st 7lb to victory on his All-Weather debut over course and distance in January 2018.
Despite his high rating, the race conditions for Saturday’s handicap at least prevent Kachy from being burdened with an unreasonable amount of weight, given his stature.
Horses rated well into three figures can seldom run in All-Weather handicaps but interestingly last season’s Easter Classic winner Matterhorn defied a mark of 107 to win in that grade under 9st 9lb at Kempton last March, en route to Finals Day glory.
Harry’s Barcontinues to progress after going close in a conditions event at Kempton early in the New Year and has winning form at Lingfield. He looks the most likely to capitalise should Kachy under-perform.
CLASSIC TEST FOR PALMER’S RISING STAR
Hugo Palmer’s rising star EL GHAZWANIcan take another step towards a possible title at the Easter Classic on Good Friday with a third consecutive victory in the Betway Handicap (3.45) at Lingfield Park this Saturday.
The son of Cape Cross is still at least 10lb short of justifying a place in the £200,000 showpiece but victory here will almost certainly propel him into three digits with further opportunities ahead.
El Ghazwani loves Lingfield. The lighly raced five-year-old has won five of his six starts over this course and distance and shouldn’t have any problems completing the hat-trick under top international jockey Andrea Atzeni.
‘ROC’ LOOKS SOLID IN FRENCH QUALIFIER
ROCQUEMONT, who twice went closed in Listed company in the autumn, can confirm his place in the £150,000 Mile Final on Good Friday by taking Saturday’s 1m Fast Track Qualifier in France.
Christophe Escuder’s four-year-old won over course and distance last month and looks ready for the return to Listed grade in the Prix Saonois (2.50) at Cagnes-Sur-Mer.
The booking of top jockey Christophe Soumillon, who won on him last time, is another positive for Rocquemont, who also had last year’s winner Volfango behind in a conditions race over course and distance last month.
Britain are not represented in the eight-runner feature, but Ireland have a strong contender in Ado McGuinness’s in-form Bowman - twice a winner at Dundalk this winter.
The former Roger Varian six-year-old has thrived since being gelded and steps back up in class off a career-high mark of 105, with the excellent Pierre-Charles Boudot in the plate.
He had the staying power to win over the extended 10f last time but may just lack sprint winner Rocquemont’s turn of foot back over this shorter distance and up in grade.
2.35 LINGFIELD PARK, SATURDAY
3.45 LINGFIELD PARK, SATURDAY
2.50 CAGNEY-SUR-MER, SATURDAY
Ivan’s Furtado’s team has hit form and the Brazilian will be looking forward to going again with French recruit Jungle Speed, who led a good field of sprinters a merry dance at Newcastle this week before tiring up the stiff finish on his first start since October. The gelding was still beaten less than two lengths in third and looks well bough at just 16,000 euros. Indeed, he wasn’t disgraced when losing a shoe in a hot handicap at Glorious Goodwood for previous connections last year.
This gelded son of Dubai was no match for his stable mate Kingswear in the paddock or on the track but still produced a debut packed with promise over 1m4f at Wolverhampton last weekend. Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old, who wore cheekpieces, stayed on with purpose from well off the pace, leaving the short-priced favourite in his wake. He can win a similar novice on this evidence, possibly on a more galloping track like Newcastle or Chelmsford City, and will have learned a lot from this test.
The lightly raced maiden has posted two solid efforts for David Thompson since being picked up for just £6,000 at Doncaster Sales last autumn. Formerly with Ed Dunlop, the powerful looking grey has twice raced prominently over 1m at Newcastle only for his effort to peter out. He would be of interest back over the straight 7f off what looks a workable mark in the low 60s.
The form of his 6f novice stakes at Newcastle last week was modest, but there were plenty of positives to take out of this gelding’s performance on only his second career start. A well built son of northern based sire Albaasil, Nigel Tinkler’s four-year-old gave lumps of weight to the younger winner Say It Simple but stuck to his task willingly and can make his mark in small handicaps after one more qualifying run.