An intriguing race that brings proven top class handicappers with progressive & lightly raced individuals together. At the top of the ratings is classy Outback Traveller who has a huge weight to defy. On pure class he is the one they all have to beat – but I feel the improving Mr Bossy Boots is probably the one they all have to fear most.
He has the benefit of a feather weight because he is the lowest rated horse in the race, but this lightly raced colt looks to have much more on the plate than the ratings suggest. He was very impressive a very impressive winner at Lingfield in January, when he looked still very green and raw, was pulling hard but surged clear with ease in the closing stages. Obviously he has to step up markedly in class today, but the handicapper’s 5lb hike in the mark for this most recent triumph has been lenient in my mind. That says Mr Bossy Boots could be a good deal ahead of this mark and must have a major chance today.
Also improving and an impressive winner was Speculative Bid. He looked in a completely different class than his rivals in a class 4 Handicap here at Kempton. He has been hit with a big hike in the mark, but looks well up to it. Though very much up in class, he may not get a smooth a ride through this time. Same may apply for Ninjago who won well first time blinkered over CD recently, but had it all going for himself.
It’s good Friday, it’s Easter weekend and it is a fantastic day for top class racing. Lingfield’s All-Weather Championships card is simply brilliant – it brings quality horses together on a surface that is often dismayed by purists. I’m a huge fan of the All-Weather though, and think it is particularly spectacular if good horses competing on it. So it’s a a fantastic day of racing on the tab – let’s hope it’s a profitable one as well!
1.40 Lingfield: All-weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships
A very hot renewal with plenty of interesting runners. I feel that in these kind of Conditions races quality is what matters most, and that should mean horses right at the head of the ratings are often favoured. Plenty of money is coming for Lamar. I’m not sure if the drop in trip suits her and she looks short enough in the betting. Khatiba is progressive, so is Don’t Be. Expect them to be right in the mix.
Overpriced is the French filly Fresles, though. A 4/1 chance, she is a full point bigger than I would have thought she’d be in the betting. This filly has had a strong run over 6f in Listed company here at Lingfield in November when she came agonisingly close. Since then she won a Listed race over 7f in France on the All-Weather and produced a very fine prep run over slightly shorter earlier this month. She’ll be primed and could have a tactical advantage from her good draw today.
Fresles @ 4/1 Coral – 5pts win
2.10 Lingfield: All-weather Sprint Championships
The red hot favourite Pretend looks very hard to beat given how easily he beat similar opposition over five furlongs recently. If he can translate the same sort of form to this 6f trip, then he is hard to beat. But it’s a new day and maybe a bit more open this time, if not at least for the minor placings.
I particularly feel that Boom The Groom is massively overpriced. You can get 33/1 with 1/4 odds each-way with some firms and that looks a cracking bet. This colt is a course and distance winner, who holds his form very well this winter and finished a fine third behind Pretend over five furlongs the last time. He has excellent place claims at least here and with the race probably run to suit him, he may get even closer this time.
Boom The Groom @ 33/1 Bet365 – 2.5pts E/W
2.40 Lingfield: All-Weather 3 Year Old Mile Championships
It’s been a very impressive seasonal reappearance by Lexington Times earlier this month and he is sure to go well with the step up to a mile sure to suit. But it’s the French filly Growing Glory who makes most appeal on prices. A massive 10/1 chance you wonder how that can be. With a handy 5lb sex allowance here, this filly has beaten the boys last month on the French All-Weather over 1m. It was a very impressive display as she was interfered twice in the home straight. Forgive her the recent poor showing on turf, and you see a top class All-Weather miler.
Godolphin is red hot on the All-Weather and for that simple reason you have to respect the favourite Hollie Point who finally got off the mark on the ninth attempt over course and distance when fitted with blinkers for the first time a fortnight ago. An opening mark of 80 looks fair and she may well has more to offer, but for all of that, she hasn’t beaten much the last time and looks a very short price.
Dark War looks a solid enough gelding and has fair form to offer, though more is required here and there might not be too much more to come. Jaganory doesn’t look good enough to land this, while Caltra Colleen is an interesting filly with potential, but she has been off the track for a very long time and the drift in the market is a worry.
Mark Johnston has his string in excellent form lately and does particularly well with three year olds. That gives confidence in the chance of Enlace, who has her first start this season. She die very well in the early days of her career when she followed up on her fine debut win with a strong runner-up effort in a hot Newmarket Nursery. She was unable to confirm that form subsequently, but a break may have done her well and on pedigree it looks likely that she can progress with age as well as the step up to 7f should suit. As a Shamardal daughter she should take well to the All-Weather.
In my eyes Enlace is the value against the favourite in this field where on merit it should be between the first two in the market. Money is floating in for the Johnston filly and 11/4 looks a very good price here.
8.15 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f Enlace @ 11/4 William Hill – 10pts win
Nice little race for a Monday, an open contest with many in the hunt for the money. The favourite Related must rate a fair chance, dropping in class after running with credit in hot company. This is easier, and he should go close. Progressive Oriental Relation is a course and distance winner this winter already, he made a big jump right into Listed company the last time but was found out. This here is not quite as hot, but still tough enough and a career best would be required today.
Rich Again really excelled on the Wolverhampton tapeta in recent weeks. He couldn’t quite translate the same form over to Lingfield lto and a career highest mark may find him out this time again. Money Team went agonisingly close in a strong 6f Handicap last month, proving his good latest form. He didn’t get a run the last time when upped in trip and may find this today easier over potentially ideal 6f on the slow Chelmsford polytrack surface.
With the right form in the book, job-jockey Gibbons in the saddle and a fair handicap mark, Money Team looks the value in this race in my mind. 4.30 Chelmsford: Class 3 Handicap, 6f Money Team @ 4/1 Bet365 – 5pts win
Masamah has been off since August, though done well fresh in the past. Age doesn’t seem to slow him down, he ran with credit in big handicaps last season. Acted on Tapeta at Meydan.
Zac Brown is much improved on the AW this winter. Won with loads in hand at Chelmsford, couldn’t quite follow up at Southwell. 10lb higher now but remains open to further improvement.
Boom The Groom was extremely consistent this winter, and not disgraced last two either since success at Lingfield. 2lb above last winning mark. Probably slightly better over 6f.
Steelriver ran well lately over further. Fair third over 6f last month. May find this minimum distance too short.
Basil Berry went agonizingly close at Chelmsford last month. Up in the mark and career highest required, Can follow-on, but drop in trip a slight worry.
Royal Bajan posted career best when winning at Chelmsford earlier this month. Gutsy 5f specialist on the AW. New career best required again.
Mappin Time didn’t travel well at Chelmsford lto, yet finished race well coming off half year long break. Has never won handicap off mark as high as the current one.
Megaleka ran out a fine 2nd behind Royal Bajan lto, needs to improve again to win off career highest mark.
Long Awaited was third behind Royal Bajan lto on first AW start. Hasn’t won since 2012 and still 1lb higher than last winning mark.
Invincible Ridge is a fair All-Weather performer, ran consistently well in recent weeks, but is 8lb above last winning mark which came in class 5 handicap.
Dynamo Walt improved this winter and won a couple of races. Consistent but loads to find on form with most rivals in this field.
Verdict: As open a race as it gets. Zac Brown may be a fair favourite and has potential to improve further, but now ten pounds above his last winning mark, he to do progress quite allot to overcome a career highest mark in this quality field. He looks short enough in the betting for that reason. You can make a case for most other runners.
Rojal Bajan’s recent success is very strong form and there is no reason why he shouldn’t go well yet again. The second and third of that race, Megaleka and Long Awaited meet the rival on slightly better weight terms today and should go close as well. Boom The Groom has been very consistent this winter, and if the trip isn’t too sharp for him, then he’ll right there when it matters too.
The class act in this field is Masamah. A former Group 2 winner, he has ran well despite his age in big handicaps last season. He may not be quite as good as he once was, but with a slightly slipping mark and a very good 5lb apprentice in the saddle, he must have a very good chance to run a big race today – if he is fit.
That is the main question mark. He has done very well as a fresh horse in the past, though the older horses get, the longer it takes to get them fit. I take a gamble on him, however, that Marco Botti knows how to keep this veteran healthy and fit and I suspect he is not in the race to just make the numbers. He looks a big price and shouldn’t have an issue with the Tapeta surface, since he acted on the All-Weather before and finished in the money at Meydan’s Tapeta track.
It’s Weekend! Some great racing ahead. Several Graded races in the UK and Ireland. Ascot Chase on Saturday as the highlight of course, but there is also some great action at Gowran Park and Navan, plus some excellent All-Weather racing from Lingfield. Enjoy all the fantastic racing and good luck whatever you bet!
Sovereign Debt has been off for more than a year now and question is how much of his old class he still has. Makes AW debut for new yard. Should be fine on surface but big mark to overcome dropping into handicap.
Don’t Call Me hasn’t won for quite a while but finished well in 3rd in hot race last week, only neck beaten by 105 rated individual on first outing since October. Still career best required to win off current mark. However remains as good as ever and won strong Handicap last summer off 3lb lower.
Tiger Tale finished runner-up on couple of occasions in recent weeks. Mark is increasing without winning since good win at Kempton in autumn. Fine performance lto over CD when short of room in crucial moment. Career best required.
Secret Art is back after a break. Goes well on the All-Weather and ran well the last two starts in Autumn. Career best required today.
Melvin The Grate is much improved since switched to the All-Weather. Won with plenty in hand on penultimate start over CD and ran fine 3rd of revised mark lto when not having run of race. Needs good pace to be able to close from trailing position.
Energia Flavio hasn’t won in UK yet but has been competitive last three start on AW. Looks in the grip of the handicapper though. Claimers allowance sure to help however.
Freud is a French import and hasn’t been seen since August. Seems to act on AW but hard to know what to expect today.
Santefisio doesn’t win often but returned to form at Wolverhampton lto. May need more assistance from handicapper to be winning candidate in this class.
Spiritual Star won with plenty in hand over CD last month when dropped to a mile. Five pounds up looks fair and remains competitive, though more required up in class today.
Mindyourownbusiness finished a gutsy runner-up behind Spiritual Star a fortnight ago. Not too many miles on the clock and may improve again. But need to so as was fair beaten lto off similar mark.
Halation was progressive last season on turf. Placed on AW as well. Now back after break. Fitness a question mark but top jockey in the saddle a bonus.
Stormy Paradise was a fair lengths beaten on seasonal return over CD lto. Would need improve quite a bit for that run to be competitive here.
Verdict: This is a really competitive affair, as one would expect from a big feature Handicap on a Saturday. More than half of the field have the potential to be really competitive in this. There is no doubt that Melvin The Great is a fair favourite. He won with plenty in hand his penultimate start and followed up with another nice performance over course and distance. His running style means that he’ll always need a rattling pace and bit of luck as well. Not sure if he’ll get another clear run today. As he had it all going for him the last two. i would expect Tiger Tale, who finished runner-up behind Melvin The Grate before, and beat him by half a lengths lto then when he was second again. He hit the crossbar a couple of times now and it remains to be seen if he can win off his current mark. Another bold performance wouldn’t surprise though. Halation is a bit a dark horse today. Back after a break, progressive profile as a three year old. He could have still some unlocked potential and has Atzeni in the saddle.
Secret Art has a similar profile to a certain extend. He was competitive before a break and if he is match fit, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going close today. All those mentioned until now should go well, but I feel they aren’t offering any value if it comes to odds. However the 12/1 for Don’t Call me looks huge. He remains most of his old class and done extremely well in a very good handicap at Wolverhampton last week. He hasn’t won off a mark as high as his current one, but this most recent performance indicates that he is well up to it. He didn’t get quite a clear run in the closing stages lto, but the slight drop to a mile should suit much better today anyway.
Not to underestimate is the chance of recent winner Spiritual Star either. An impressive winner over course and distance two weeks ago, his revised mark looks more than fair, if not even lenient to a certain extend, given with how much in hand he won and how similar winners have been hit with much higher increases. He hasn’t won off a mark as high as this, however was placed over CD off even higher last season. He has the habit of starting slowly from time to time. So that is a risk that he may lose the race already at the start. Yet 9/1 looks a very big price.
Selections: Don’t Call Me @ 12/1 Sportingbet- 5pts win Spiritual Star @ 9/1 William Hill – 5pts win