All-weather racing may be a rather Marmite discipline, but there is no taking away from the quality, competitive action in store at Lingfield on Good Friday.
For months some of the finest polytrack exponents have been earning their keep to forge a crack at the big prizes on Finals Day of the All-Weather Championships.
It may be just the second renewal of the initiative, but there are a few things we are sure to see at the Surrey track…
Money, and plenty of it
The big draw for these Championships for connections is no doubt the money on offer, a total of £1m on the line between the seven contests on the day.
The winner of the Middle Distance Championship race will pick up a cool £124,500 – a figure that out-guns the career earnings of a whopping 92 per cent of the horses across the entire card.
The boys in blue to go well
Charlie Appleby has a very impressive 39 per cent strike rate at Lingfield this season, but he’s not the only Godolphin trainer primed for a big showing.
With Saeed Bin Suroor and John Gosden offering supporting roles, the boys in blue could have a bumper day with Tryster an odds-on shot in the 1m2f contest, and three of the first four in the betting in the three-year-old mile division.
Just one defending champ
You’d think connections that had previously flourished on the inaugural Finals Day would be rushing to defend their crown. Alas, Alben Star is the only winner of 12 months ago to return for a second go.
The seven-year-old will be well fancied to double up in the Sprint division having run a very respectable second over course and distance in preparation for the 6f speed-test.
A couple of French raiders
Very rarely will you see French trainers send their charges across the channel to race at Lingfield, but then again, very rarely will you see such prize money on offer here.
Pia Brandt’s Fresles won a Listed winner at Deauville in December, and was second here over 2f shorter than the trip she will face on Friday a month before that.
A similar each-way shout could go to Francois Rohaut’s Growing Glory who won a Listed race of her own at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in February.
Plenty more success to come
While a win on Finals Day may be the pinnacle of many of the runners careers so far, it doesn’t have to be the last big prize they take.
Of last year’s six winners that have run since, two have taken Listed contests since their Lingfield success, while Captain Cat has two Group 3 triumphs to his name and Living the Life took the Group 2 Presque Downs Masters Stakes in America. More victories could well follow for this year’s lucky seven.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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