Good Friday Racing: Lingfield Features6 min read
Good Friday was racing-free until 2014, but today’s all-weather Championships at Lingfield – live on ITV 4 – has quickly established itself in the racing calendar and a valuable and informative card at Newcastle was added last year.
We begin our preview at Lingield where there is £1m up for grabs in the six championship races which begins with the nine-runner Marathon over two miles. French raider Funny Kid (2.00) was just outstayed by Watersmeet at Wolverhampton over an extended two miles back in January but he travelled like much the best horse in the race, has an excellent draw in stall four and this can reverse form with the Mark Johnston-trained runner. The selection is 4/1.
Indeed a bigger danger may come from Red Verdon (3/1) stepping up to two miles for the first time for Ed Dunlop. His stamina is not guaranteed on breeding, however, although connections appear confident he will stay.
If there is a decent pace to track I feel Diagnostic (2.30) will be tough to beat in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Championship over 7f. Soul Silver is likely to make it a decent test, dropping back from a mile, and that should suit the William Haggas-trained four-year-old who is often keen in her races but if she gets a strong pace, she must be there or thereabouts at the finish. The selection is 4/1 and we should know our fate inside the first couple of furlongs.
Gracious John will ensure there is an end-to-end gallop in the sprint and that will suit the closers including Gifted Master (3.05) who won his only start on polytrack in a decent time under James Doyle back in November.
Connections immediately nominated this race and at 11/4 he just gets the vote ahead of Tom Dascombe’s Kachy who has won both starts over C&D this year and he did very well to overcome a wide draw (stall 11) last time.
Corinthia Knight is 7/4 in the 3-year-old sprint and looks the one to beat given his recent listed success at Chantilly earlier in the month. He was perhaps not at his very best when beaten by Never Back Down (3.40) at Wolverhampton back in December but the latter was a juvenile I felt would have more to offer this season and I hope this is a good day for Josie Gordon and Hugo Palmer.
The selection was backed from 6s to 5/1 yesterday and the suggestion is that he has been working well at his Newmarket base.
Second Thought (4.10) won the three-year-old sprint on this card 12 months ago and can follow up in the Mile for William Haggas and James Doyle who takes over from Ryan Moore this afternoon. The colt is unbeaten in six starts on the all-weather, but will need to break on terms from his draw next to the rail in stall one. The selection is 5/4 and will be hard to beat granted a clear passage.
The ten furlongs classic is worth £124,000 to the winner and is a Group race in all but name. Victory Bond failed to overcome a poor draw in the Lingfield Derby Trial and I’m not convinced the short run to the first turn over today’s course and distance suits the 7/2 market leader.
It was not Ryan Moore’s finest hour when Star Archer (4.40) was beaten at Kempton last time and he has never run at Lingfield but this 4-year-old – another Hugo Palmer representative – impressed when winning both starts at Wolverhampton earlier in the year and he gets the each way vote at 17/2.
Never Back Down
At Newcastle Cosmeapolitan (3.20) has the assistance of Jamie Spencer in the valuable mile-and-a-half handicap and I felt he was good value for his 4lb rise having won at Kempton last time. Alan King’s five-year-old is 6/1 and can reward each way support.