Good Friday, long Easter weekend, no Alcohol….. something isn’t right in this list. I have to work while everyone doesn’t and I’m not allowed to down a well deserved drink in the pub afterwards…. What’s good about that???
Well, what’s certainly good about Good Friday is the excellent All-Weather Champions Day which has been going from strengths to strengths since its introduction a couple of years back.
If you enjoy the sand racing – as I do – and if you enjoy even more so decent horses running on it, well, then Friday is indeed Good Friday!
Some selections for the day as follows below – hopefully following on from two winning days in succession – what a rare feast that has been for quite some time. But thanks to Outcrop on Wednesday, who won at tasty odds of 8/1, things look slightly less bleak than they did a week ago or so.
2.10: Lingfield: AW Marathon Championships, 2m
I have set my eyes firmly on First Mohican here, fourth in this race last year, when incredibly unlucky. He travelled like the winner for most parts but didn’t get a run whatsoever.
He had a busy campaign subsequently, ended it winless, however was placed in some big Handicaps, including an excellent runner-up effort in the Cesarewith!
After a small break during the winter he returned in a conditions race at Kempton, finished a fine third, then went on to win the Fast Track Qualifier over the 2m at Lingfield last month in good style, suggesting he is still as good as ever.
Now, he can start slowly and might be outpaced early on, as a result may well find himself far off the pace, similar to last year. No doubt he will need all things to fall right in order to win, but in an open race he’s a very big price.
10pts win – First Mohican @ 20/1 Bet365
3.10 Lingfield: AW Sprint Championships, 6f
Most of these have collateral form and it is quite hard to split them. Royal Birth looks a prime candidate if he could bring his form to this longer trip, though the form selections would be Kimberella and surely the most likely winner has to be Lancelot Du Lac.
Front running Mythmaker from pole position has the ability to steel the race wheres Boom The Groom at his best has a huge shout.
The “x-factor” in the race is Godolphin’s Pretend. He won this very race two years ago. Since then things did not go right. After yet another absence he returned to the track at Kempton in February and showed that still possesses above average ability when easily sprinting away in a slowly run race, travelling powerfully in rear throughout.
The next two times here at Lingfield things went horribly wrong. In the Cleves Stakes he got a bump soon after the start and was set alight as a consequence, despite racing keenly he found extra in the closing stages but was then short of room when it mattered most.
Dropped to 5f the next time he bottled the start and in a race where you had to be at least prominently positioned in order to have a chance he lost the race right there. Nonetheless sectionals tell its own story and he ran a huge race according to them, though he looked fairly awkward in the home straight.
Making excuses for a horse twice is a never a good sign but I’m inclined to do so for Pretend. He’s better than what he has shown the last two times, is a former winner of this race, a Group 3 winner on the All-Weather and his overall record suggests he is the most talented individual in this race.
The wide draw does not help today, or does it? I suspect it’s better for him so he can come with a big sweeping run on the outside turning for home and then his electric change of gear might see him pick off the leaders, instead of facing a wall of horses.
10 pts win – Pretend @ 5/1 Skybet
4.40 Lingfield: AW Middle Distance Championships, 1m 2f
Favourite Convey produced a massive performance on his reappearance lto and is fancied for good reasons. But is he that much better than the rest as the odds suggest? Unlikely in my book.
You can make a case for a handful of horses, yet the most interesting is Battalion. He loves this course and distance, won twice here this winter, including a listed contest.
He is clearly a quirky character as seen in the Winter Derby and those antics cost him every chance. as a standard he is slowly away and that will make life difficult in a race without a lot of pace today yet again.
But despite his antics he ran incredibly well judged on sections the last two times and that swerve in his direction: if he is on a going day then he clearly has the ability to pick them all up and win.
10pts win – Battalion @ 6/1 Bet365
2.55 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 7f
Against the odds I feel Ruth Carr’s five year old gelding Chaplin Bay looks an overly big price on his seasonal reappearance. He ran well as a fresh horse in the past so it would not be a surprise to see him return to form.
He seems to be an exposed sort on turf, however not so much on the sand, where in two career starts he finished runner-up in a Dundalk maiden and fourth in a hot Handicap last season.
Off his current mark he may could still find a bit of improvement on the All-Weather; in fact his breeding suggests there might well be more to come. Fastnet Rock offspring outruns the odds year after year, even more so over the 7f trip and very much so this season at Newcastle.
10pts win – Chaplin Bay @ 16/1 PP
3.30 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 3.5f
Richard Hannon’s Hushood is thrown into the deep end here on his handicap debut of a rather biggish looking opening mark, judged on what this lad this as a juvenile.
But he is expected to improve big time for the trip. He’s nicely bred and a full-brother to Group 3 placed Seaport. His family is stamina laden and has also form on fast ground, though Hushood himself showed his best in a maiden on good to soft last year, beating a short odds-on favourite from the Gosden yard, who subsequently franked the form.
Interestingly Hushood is by sire Champs Elysees who has a tremendous record over this trip and on firm ground, which gets even better at this Bath track – a small sample size it is, but the numbers look significant.
All in all Hushood makes appeal as there is a good chance he finds the improvement needed in these conditions to overcome a mark of 86.
10 pts win – Hushood @ 13/2 Skybet