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Khuzaam claims impressive Mile verdict

Khuzaam blitzed the field with an impressive performance to win the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Hitting the front on the turn for home, Khuzaam (6-4 favourite) quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals with a devastating turn of foot.

Jack Mitchell sat on the heels of the pace-making Canagat in the early stages before making his move.

The response from the Roger Varian-trained five-year-old was immediate and he romped away to score by five lengths from Mums Tipple. Bless Him stayed on for third place, another length away.

Mitchell said: “That was nice and smooth. His work has improved a lot since he won at Chelmsford and the gelding operation has obviously helped him.

“I think he has a lot of class – and he has miles left on the clock, so we will see where he can go.

“It could not have gone any better.

“Roger and I spoke this morning – Khuzaam is a big horse and not one you’d want to drag back, and the race being here at Lingfield meant that we wanted to utilise that, really, even though we were going up a furlong.

“Once I asked him to change gear, he put the race to bed very quickly. I think there is improvement in him.

“Thank you to Shadwell and to Roger for sticking with me. It is very nice to have a winner in these colours.”

Bangkok bags Easter Classic honours

Bangkok asserted in the closing stages to land the odds in the Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships at Lingfield.

Andrew Balding’s five-year-old showed he had recovered from his trip to Riyadh for the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup, six weeks ago to justify his short price.

Bangkok (5-6 favourite) had to work hard, but he was a willing partner for Silvestre de Sousa.

Bangkok following his Easter Classic victory
Bangkok following his Easter Classic victory (Neil Morrice/PA)

Making his move just before the home turn, De Sousa closed the door on his main market rival, Forest Of Dean. That have him a crucial edge, but Bangkok still had to catch Palavecino.

His touch of class and stamina enabled Bangkok to get the verdict by a neck from the 8-1 shot.

It was an All-Weather Championships double for Balding, who won the Marathon with Ranch Hand, and an across-the-card treble after the victory of Napper Tandy at Newcastle.

Bangkok (left) proved too good for Palavecino
Bangkok (left) proved too good for Palavecino (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Balding said: “I thought Silvestre gave him a masterful ride in keeping Forest Of Dean in at the right time.

“He’s a very tough horse that has travelled all over the place in recent months, and it’s great that he can bring his A-game to the table today.

“He hasn’t quite hit the heights we thought he might after he won the Classic Trial at Sandown, but he settles so well that I think he might get a mile and a half now.

“Silvestre said we should drop him back to a mile, but the most likely race for him is the Huxley Stakes at Chester, as long as the ground is all right.

“Bangkok only has a Listed penalty, so he is eligible for lots of races including Group Threes without a penalty, so we will have a lot of fun trying to pick races which he can be competitive in.”

Summerghand pips Exalted Angel in Sprint thriller

Summerghand got up in the dying strides to snatch the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Wearing a visor for the first time, Summerghand pegged back Exalted Angel on the line in the hands of Adam Kirby in a driving finish to the six-furlong heat.

Aberama Gold got a flier from his rail draw and took the field along with Tone The Barone, Exalted Angel and Highland Dress all handy.

The field spread wide on the turn for home with the race very much up for grabs.

Summerghand (6-1), trained by David O’Meara, got into top gear in the final furlong though, edging out Exalted Angel by a head to land his first success since the Stewards’ Cup last summer.

The seven-year-old was making a swift reappearance having contested the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster last Saturday.

Kirby said: “He’s a horse with a lot of ability and a good bit of class.

“Unfortunately, last time at Doncaster he didn’t get the rub and at Wolverhampton before that gave the winner a lot of weight. He was due to win.

“I was content in my position following Brian The Snail. I decided to pull out and luckily a horse stopped at just the right time when I was about to start my run.

“I therefore didn’t lose too much ground and it worked out well. I think the visor put a bit of an edge on Summerghand.

“Full credit to David O’Meara and his team. Hopefully, we continue to have a bit of luck together.

“It’s great to have a winner on Finals Day.”

Ranch Hand swoops to claim Marathon title at Lingfield

Ranch Hand showed a neat turn of foot in the straight to land the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

James Doyle produced Andrew Balding’s five-year-old with a well-timed run to lead just over a furlong out.

Ranch Hand quickly put the race to bed and he galloped on strongly to hold the late challenge of Rock Eagle by a length and a half, with Lucky Deal third.

There was a strong pace early on with Australis, Ranch Hand and Amtiyaz to the fore, but the tempo slackened before the field passed the winning post for the first time.

Martin Harley was the first to make his move, sending Rainbow Dreamer on four furlongs out, but the 3-1 favourite could not hold on as his rivals hunted him down in the straight. He eventually finished fourth – and Harley later received a four-day suspension for careless riding, covering April 16, 17, 19 and 20.

Balding said: “I thought James always had him in the right position but that he might get caught flat-footed off the very slow pace, but he’s a classy horse and got out of trouble.

“He’s now four from four on the all-weather – and while I was worried whether he would act round Lingfield, I shouldn’t have been.

“This was very much Plan B, because we ran out of jumping options, and I think we’ll stick to the Flat now. The most likely target is the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.”

Doyle added: “It was a messy race that lacked pace, making it very frustrating because I jumped soundly, but Hollie (Doyle, on Amtiyaz) took my position.

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“The good thing was that when the race opened up he was fine. His run in a Listed race at Newmarket was pretty solid, and I knew he had the form coming into this.”

Pholas mowed down the opposition in the closing stages to cause a 25-1 upset for Hollie Doyle in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.

George Boughey’s four-year-old came from last to first thanks to a devastating turn of foot in the hands of his record-breaking jockey.

Five-time course winner Fizzy Feet made the running from Arafi and Nirodha, but the pace was only steady – and all six were in with a chance as they turned for home.

It was Pholas, running for the ninth time this year already, who held all the answers – charging late to get home by a neck from Shimmering Dawn, with Arafi third.

Hollie Doyle sprang a 25-1 surprise on Pholas
Hollie Doyle sprang a 25-1 surprise on Pholas (Mike Egerton/PA)

The disappointing horse in the race was the 4-5 favourite, Indie Angel, who could not get in a blow.

Doyle said: “I thought she was a well-handicapped horse, but that it was a big ask for her in a conditions race.

“To win she needed to do things smoothly and get into a rhythm, with a pace to aim at. She hit a flat spot two out, but picked up really well.”

Diligent Harry looked a smart sprinter in the making when storming to victory in the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes.

Diligent Harry (green/red) impressed at Lingfield
Diligent Harry (green/red) impressed at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Clive Cox-trained colt came with a pulsating run to wear down Mighty Gurkha in the final furlong and win in cosy fashion.

Adam Kirby, who was on a high after taking the Sprint Championships on Summerghand, had Diligent Harry in a good position just off the pace.

Bravado led in the early stages, but Hollie Doyle soon took it up on Mighty Gurkha after getting across to the rail from a wide draw.

Mighty Gurkha led into the straight, but Diligent Harry (2-1 favourite) had him in his sights and kicked away to score by two lengths. Mighty Gurkha held Zamaani by a nose for second spot.

Diligent Harry was cut to 16-1 from 25-1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Cox said: “I’m over the moon, because having not run since January it was a big ask. He was beaten here last time, but on the positive side he gained knowledge of the track, and he’s shown today that when it all goes right it’s fabulous.

“He’s as exciting as a few of the good sprinters we’ve had, but as he’s done a lot in a short time, I shall give him a recharge now.”

Kirby said: “On his previous run here we got bumped out on the turn. It’s been a learning curve for the horse and a lot has happened in three and a half months.

“He’s still a bit babyish, but has taken a step forward. It’s a long way to Ascot, but I’m looking forward to the future.”

The closing Bombardier All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap went to Lord Of The Lodge (5-1 joint-favourite) for trainer Karl Burke and jockey Pierre-Louis Jamin.

Diligent Harry hunting All-Weather Championships crown

Diligent Harry bids to make amends for a narrow defeat over the course and distance when he returns to Lingfield for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes on Friday.

A slow start put the Clive Cox-trained colt on the back foot and the race did not go to plan after that. Despite finishing strongly, Diligent Harry could not quite peg back Rohaan and was beaten a short head.

He had been up with the pace when winning his only two previous starts at Wolverhampton and Kempton. The latter race was over the minimum trip, but Cox believes six furlongs is his optimum at present.

“He’s got a lot of potential and he’s still very much learning his job, but because of that he’s entitled to find more progress, I think,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“He’s very quick, we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.”

Victory Heights staked his claim with victory at Wolverhampton when four of these rivals – Mighty Gurkha, Yazaman, Zamaani and Bakersboy – finished directly behind him in second to fifth places respectively.

Trainer James Tate is hoping the son of Siyouni can overcome a wide draw.

Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome
Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome (Tony Knapton/PA)

“We love Victory Heights, he’s as game as a pebble. I thought he was really tough and put in a good performance when he beat some of these horses at Wolverhampton back in December,” said the Newmarket handler.

“This has been the plan ever since. It looks like a very competitive, tight little contest and we haven’t go the best of draws (in stall 10). I’m sure him and Luke Morris will be giving it their best shot anyway.”

William Haggas reports Yazaman to be in fine form.

“Yazaman is in good shape and will have the blinkers back on for this,” said the Newmarket handler.

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“He was drawn widest of all last time and we took the view that we would drop him out. He ran OK, but never really got into the race.”

Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon
Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon (Richard Sellers/PA)

Andrew Balding is praying there is a strong gallop for Ranch Hand in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He wouldn’t want it to be a tactical race with an injection of speed off the final bend,” Balding told Sky Sports Racing.

“James Doyle is riding him and he’ll be given a free rein to ride him as he sees fit. I’m sure he’ll get it right.”

Just seven runners will line-up for this two-mile test with Alan King’s Rainbow Dreamer and Amityaz from the in-form team of John and Thady Gosden among the leading fancies.

Tim Easterby feels Lampang will be adaptable whatever the pace in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He’s a very straight forward horse. He can go up there or drop in. It doesn’t matter. It depends how the race goes,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“You’ve got to have a jockey who rides the track well. That’s the main thing at Lingfield. Silvestre (de Sousa) rides it well, so things should be good.

“It’s a pretty competitive race. You can give a lot of horses a chance.”

Ado McGuinness’s Irish raider Harry’s Bar will have plenty of supporters, while others with chances in the 12-strong field include Summerghand, Highland Dress, Venturous and Lord Riddiford.

Richard Hannon has no qualms about putting Mums Tipple back up in trip for the the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.

The gelding flopped when tried over a mile in the 2000 Guineas last season, but he did not show his best form at all in 2020. However, he bounced back with victory over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton recently.

“Mums Tipple is in great form. I was very pleased with his last run – it was a smart performance – and he looks like he is going the right way,” said Hannon.

“Finals Day will be the first time he has run over a mile since the Guineas. I am hoping it won’t be an issue as he got the seven furlongs really well at Wolverhampton.”

Of the opposition, Silver Quartz represents French trainer Francis Graffard after scoring at Chantilly four weeks ago, with compatriot Canagat joining him on the trip.

Among others in the mix are Roger Varian’s Khuzaam and Documenting from Kevin Frost’s stable.

Tate feels Shimmering Dawn’s track record will stand her in good stead for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.

The mare won over this seven furlongs in December to give the Newmarket trainer hope of a bold show.

“Shimmering Dawn has been a great servant to us over the winter, she loves the all-weather and she’s a course-and-distance winner,” he said.

“It looks like we’ve got (John and Thady) Gosden’s to beat (Indie Angel) and David Loughnane’s (Fizzy Feet) as well, although maybe that one wants a little bit less of a trip.

“She’s pretty tactically able to do whatever, it’s a small field and we’ve got a good jockey on board.

“We’ll give it a good go, there’s plenty of money on offer.”

Fizzy Feet  (right) represents Dave Lowe
Fizzy Feet (right) represents Dave Lowe (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Fizzy Feet’s owner Dave Lowe thinks his runner has every chance of seeing out the longer trip.

He said: “David (Loughnane) is pretty confident that Fizzy Feet will stay seven furlongs.

“He doesn’t feel she has been stopping in her races and, if you are going to get seven furlongs anywhere, it will be Lingfield.

“Indie Angel is the horse to beat, but I am confident of a big run from Fizzy Feet as I think she could get an easy lead.

“If she can steal a march on the field, hopefully they will find it difficult to peg her back.”

Balding anticipating bold show from Bangkok in Easter Classic

Bangkok and Forest Of Dean lock horns in what promises to be an intriguing battle for the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield on Friday.

The Andrew Balding-trained Bangkok sets the standard on ratings, having won the Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance in each of the past two seasons.

He was last seen picking up considerable prize-money for finishing eighth in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh in February, while last summer he was not beaten all that far in either the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

With his charge returning to the course and distance over which he excels for the £100,000 feature on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Balding is in confident mood.

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“He’s been a bit unlucky this year,” the trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“He was just nodded in a strong Listed race here (in December), having met a bit of trouble in running, then he was just chinned at Wolverhampton in a conditions race as well. I don’t think he did anything wrong.

“He’s pretty straight forward nowadays and I’d hope if he brings his best form to the race, he’s the one to beat.

“He’s had two wins, a second and a third over the course and distance. The one time he was a little bit disappointing was in last year’s Winter Derby, which was a falsely run race.

“I’d like to think Silvestre (de Sousa, jockey) would have the confidence that if the pace wasn’t strong enough for him (on Friday), he’d be versatile enough now to go forward.

“The course and distance seems to bring out the best in him.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Forest Of Dean was three-quarters of a length behind Bangkok when third in February’s Winter Derby, since when he has reversed form with the runner-up Felix to land the Winter Derby itself.

Assimilation in winning action at Lingfield
Assimilation in winning action at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The small but select field is completed by four other course-and-distance winners in Assimilation (Ed Walker), Byford (Ivan Furtado), Palavecino (Brian Meehan) and Sky Defender (Mark Johnston).

Walker said: “Assimilation is in cracking form. Whatever he lacks in ability, he makes up for in heart and determination.

“Six months ago, if you said to me that he would have a chance on Finals Day, I would have laughed at you. He just continues to surprise us with his progress through the ranks.

“He seems to be thriving and Luke Morris knows him inside out. He probably won’t be good enough, but who knows?”

Lingfield All Weather Championship Trends (Fri 2nd April 2021)

The ITV4 cameras head to Lingfield Park this Good Friday (2nd April 2021) to take SIX races from the lucrative All Weather Championships Meeting – Finals Day – but we’ve got ALL seven races covered for you!

There are plenty of the power-house flat yards bringing horses to the Surrey venue and it’s no surprise with mouth-watering prize money on offer, including £51k for the winner of the feature race – the Easter Classic All-Weather Middle-Distance Championship Conditions Stakes (4:15).

Like all big race days, we take a look at all the races from a trends angle, including the best positive and negative trainer/jockey stats – we hope they help point you in the direction of a few winners!

 

Lingfield Horse Racing Trends (ATR/ITV4)

 

2.00 - Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (4 yo+) 1m7f169y ITV4

Six previous runnings
5 of the last 6 winners aged between 4-6 years-old
5 of the last 6 winners came from stalls 8 or lower
4 of the last 6 winners had won at the track before
2 of the last 6 favourites have won
2 of the last 6 winners came from stall 8
3 of the last 6 winners ran at Lingfield last time out
All six past winners finished in the top 3 last time out
The favourite has finished 1st (twice) or 2nd in the last 6 runnings
Watersmeet was second in the race in 2017 and third in 2018 and won in 2019
Trainer Mark Johnston has a 29% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Roger Varian has a 19% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey James Doyle has a 27% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Martin Dwyer is just 3 from 107 riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: WATERSMEET (7/1)

 

2.35 – Ladbrokes All weather Fillies’ and Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (4 yo+) 7f1y ITV4

Six previous runnings
Just 1 winning favourite in the last 6 runnings
5 of the 6 winners were aged 4 years-old
5 of the last 6 previous winners were Irish-bred horses
Horses from stall 3 have been placed in 4 of the last 6 runnings (2 winners)
Favourites placed in 4 of the last 6 runnings
3 of the last 6 winners had run at Lingfield before (2 had won)
Trainer Richard Hannon has a 21% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer David Loughnane has a 21% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey James Doyle has a 27% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: HEAVENLY HOLLY (9/1)

3.10 – Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (4 yo+) 6f1y ITV4

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Six previous runnings
Trainer Richard Fahey won this race in 2014, 2016 & 2017
Three winning favourites in the last 6 runnings
3 of the last 6 winners were Irish-bred horses
5 of the last 6 previous winners had raced at the track before
5 of the last 6 winners came between stalls 5-9 (inc)
5 of the last 6 winners drawn in stall 7 or lower
Paul Hanagan has ridden 2 of the last 6 winners
2 of the last 6 winners came from draw 5
Trainer John Quinn has a 33% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Connor Beasley has a 29% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Clifford Lee has a 27% riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Jason Hart has 24% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: KACHY (4/9 fav)

 

3.45 – Ladbroke 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (3yo) 6f ITV4

Three previous runnings
2 of the last 3 winners came from stalls 5 and 6
All 3 previous winners were favourites
Trainer Archie Watson won this race in 2018
Trainer William Haggas won this race in 2017
Trainer William Haggas has a 30% record with his 3 year-olds at the track
Trainer Archie Watson has a 22% record with his 3 year-olds at the track
Trainer Tom Dascombe is just 1 from 22 with his 3 year-olds at the track
Jockey James Doyle has a 32% record riding 3 year-olds at the track
Jockey Adam Kirby has a 25% record riding 3 year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: TRANSCENDENT (11/4 fav)

 

4.15 - Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (4 yo+) 1m2f ITV4

Six previous runnings
5 of the last 6 previous runnings went to the favourite (or joint fav)
5 of the last 6 previous winners returned 3/1 or shorter in the betting
All previous winners aged between 4-6 years-old
4 of the 6 winners were Irish-bred horses
5 of the last 6 winners ran at Lingfield last time out
All six previous winners drawn in stall 4 or lower
5 of the past 6 winners had won over CD before
Horses from stall 4 have won 4 of the last 6 runnings
Horses from stall 2 placed in 4 of the last 6 runnings
Ryan Moore has ridden 2 of the last 6 winners of this race
Trainer Mark Johnston has a 29% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Brian Meehan has a 22% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey James Doyle has a 27% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Jason Hart has a 24% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Martin Dwyer is just 3 from 107 riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: MATTERHORN (9/2)

4.45 – Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes Cl2 (4 yo+) 1m1y ITV4

No winning favourite in the last 6 runnings
All previous winners aged between 5-8 years-old.
All six past winners drawn 8 or lower
All six winners came between stalls 5-8 (inc)
5 of the last 6 winners didn’t win their last race
5 of the last 6 winners had run at the track before (3 won)
3 of the last 6 winners came from stall 8
Trainer Richard Hannon has a 21% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Roger Varian has a 19% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey James Doyle has a 27% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Hayley Turner is just 3 from 44 riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: OH THIS IS US (5/1)

 

5.15 – Bombardier All Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap Cl2 (4 yo+) 7f SKY

Three previous runnings
Trainer Simon Dow won the race in 2017
Two of the last 3 winners came from stall 1 and 5
Last three winners carried 8-13 or more in weight
Trainer Simon Hodgson has a 24% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Richard Hannon has a 21% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer David Loughnane has a 21% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Trainer Karl Burke has a 20% record with his 4+ year-olds at the track
Jockey Angus Villiers has a 30% record riding 4+ year-olds at the track
Note: No race in 2020
2019 Winner: GORING (14/1)

 

 

 

 

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Five take on Bangkok in Easter Classic

Bangkok will face five rivals in the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield.

The £100,000 contest is the centrepiece of a seven-race card for All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Friday – and Bangkok is a hot favourite for trainer Andrew Balding.

The five-year-old was last seen finishing eighth in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh, having previously won the Winter Derby Trial for the second year in succession over this course and distance.

Bangkok’s biggest threat appears to be John and Thady Gosden’s Forest Of Dean, who won the Winter Derby itself on his latest appearance.

Assimilation (Ed Walker), Byford (Ivan Furtado), Palavecino (Brian Meehan) and Sky Defender (Mark Johnston) complete the sextet.

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Palavecino has run two good races over the course and distance this season, including when fourth behind Sangarius in the Quebec Stakes in mid-December – a race in which Bangkok was second.

Meehan said: “Palavecino had a break over Christmas as he’d had a busy enough time of it up until then.

“It just seemed a good moment to give him some time off and he has come back really well. We have had an eye on the Easter Classic the whole time and his preparation has gone very smoothly.

“He is fresh, he is improving, and I would see him in there with a very solid chance.”

The finals day card gets under way with the Betway All-Weather Marathon, for which seven runners will go to post.

Balding again has a leading contender in Ranch Hand – as does the Gosden team with Amtiyaz, the mount of Hollie Doyle.

It is Rainbow Dreamer from Alan King’s yard, however, that sets the standard on ratings.

Indie Angel, another Gosden inmate, is a warm order for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships.

Her five opponents include Fizzy Feet, who is stepped up in distance by David Loughnane, and the James Tate-trained Shimmering Dawn.

Irish raider Harry’s Bar (Ado McGuinness) and last summer’s Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand (David O’Meara) are two of 12 runners declared for a fiercely competitive renewal of the Betway All-Weather Sprint.

Diligent Harry (Clive Cox) and Mighty Gurkha (Archie Watson) are the market principals in a 10-strong Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships, while Khuzaam (Roger Varian) and Mums Tipple (Richard Hannon) are two of 10 runners in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile.

The Bombardier All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap brings the card to a close, with Karl Burke’s Lord Of The Lodge heading a field of 14 hopefuls.

Diligent Harry ‘still on upward curve’

Clive Cox believes there is plenty more to come from Diligent Harry as he prepares for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Winner of his first two starts, Diligent Harry was a fast-finishing second last time out – and although he surrendered his unbeaten record, he lost little in defeat.

He is set to be in action against his contemporaries on Friday, and Cox said: “He’s progressive.

“After two easy maiden and novice starts, that was a step forward last time out even though he was second.

“I do think he’s still on an upward curve, and I certainly hope he is.”

Diligent Harry has displayed plenty of pace so far, and his Lambourn trainer added: “He’s got a lot of potential and scope there, and he’s still very much learning his job – but because of that, he’s entitled to find more progress, I think.

“He’s very quick – we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose more than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.

“He’s taking on another notch of top-class horses, so we need to see more progress, but we’re hopeful he is progressing in the right direction to take the next step.”

Silver seeking Mile gold at Lingfield

Silver Quartz will have the assistance of Hollie Doyle in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield on Friday.

Formerly trained by Hugo Palmer and Archie Watson, Silver Quartz was highly thought of in his younger days but appeared to lose his way.

He joined Francis-Henri Graffard in France in September 2019 and has subsequently won four times, including the last twice.

“I am very happy with Silver Quartz – I think he heads to Lingfield in very good form,” said Graffard.

“It looks an obvious race to go for because he likes the Polytrack and the mile is a good distance for him.

“He won at Deauville at the beginning of January and then I did not have a lot of options, which is why I kept him fresh for the race at Chantilly.

“That was another nice performance from him – and I think the confidence of the horse at the moment is very high.”

Another French-trained runner in the race is Canagat, who Doyle rode to victory at Newcastle twice last summer when with Watson.

He is now in the care of Georgios Alimpinisis.

Owner Nurlan Bizakov’s stud manager Tony Fry said today: “We were a little disappointed with Canagat last time.

“The way the race panned out didn’t suit as it turned into a sit and sprint, but he has come out of it well.

“His form behind Wally looks pretty good and a reproduction of that should see him run well.

“It is nice to be involved on days like this and Luke Morris is booked to ride, so fingers crossed.”

Mums Tipple back on top with Wulfruna win

Mums Tipple finally fulfilled some of his immense early promise when landing an emphatic success in the Bombardier Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton.

The world appeared to be at his feet when Mums Tipple won a valuable sales race for two-year-olds at York by 11 lengths, but it all went wrong with three bitterly disappointing efforts in Group One races.

He did not show much when dropped in class for his final two starts as a three-year-old, but he did hint at a return to form when staying on to finish an eye-catching sixth over six furlongs at Lingfield last month.

Stepping up to seven furlongs for this All-Weather Championships fast-track qualifier suited Mums Tipple (9-2) as he put his bad spell behind him.

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Lord Of The Lodge and Highland Dress set a good gallop, but Ryan Moore was always on their heels and when he pressed the button, Mums Tipple quickened away in good style to win by two and a quarter lengths. Lord Of The Lodge was second with Highland Dress a length and three-quarters back in third place.

Moore said: “It’s very nice for the owners as last year was a mess for many reasons really.

“He ran a fine race over six at Lingfield and the seven furlongs suited him.

“There were some good horses in there today, but the race worked out well for him and he’s gone and won really nicely.”

Hannon, who was not on course, said: “He worked very well during the week and it’s nice to see him back after his encouraging run at Lingfield. He’s a very good horse and it’s been a little bit unfair as he gets knocked every time he runs.

“People want to see a similar performance to what he did at York each time, but that was one of the best performances I’ve seen by any horse – even I was shocked by that – and people haven’t given him a break since that.

“He’s got an awful lot of ability so it’s nice to see him win, and win very well, at that level. Hopefully he can build on that for the rest of the year and we’ll probably go for the Mile on Finals Day. It’s satisfying to see him win like the horse we think he is.”

Sheema Classic could be next for Berkshire Rocco

Berkshire Rocco may be bound for the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan following a fine effort on his first start for four months in Qatar.

Andrew Balding was delighted with the four-year-old’s run in the H H The Amir Trophy at Doha when beaten two and three-quarter lengths by Noor Al Hawa.

The Kingsclere trainer expects an even better performance next time from last year’s St Leger runner-up.

“He ran a smashing race. It was his first run for a while, and he’s entitled to come on for that,” said Balding.

Berkshire Rocco (red cap) ran a huge race in the St Leger
Berkshire Rocco (red cap) ran a huge race in the St Leger (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“All being well, he might head towards Meydan for the Sheema Classic.

“He’s effective at a mile and a half and further, and is just a great horse to have in the yard.”

Stablemate Spanish Mission could also head to Dubai after finishing second in the Red Sea Turf Handicap in Riyadh, for which he earned £364,000.

“He ran with great credit and he too might end up going to Dubai for the Dubai Gold Cup,” said Balding.

Bangkok picked up plenty of prize-money with his run in the Saudi Cup
Bangkok picked up plenty of prize-money with his run in the Saudi Cup (John Walton/PA)

The handler was pleased Bangkok managed to pick up excellent prize-money as well in the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup – earning £291,000 for eighth place.

“He’s probably not quite as good as the others, which is obvious, but he won some really good prize-money and is back here and bouncing,” said Balding.

“There were great rewards up for grabs, and that was the main reason we ran. The rewards were there as long as he could finish in the first 10, and he did that and has done us proud.”

His next run will be much closer to home, in the All-Weather Championship Finals at Lingfield on April 2.

“He will more than likely head to Lingfield for Good Friday,” added Balding.

King sights set on Marathon date for Rainbow Dreamer

Alan King is looking forward to running Rainbow Dreamer in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship Final following his victory at Kempton on Saturday.

The eight-year-old made all the running under an astute ride from Hollie Doyle to land the spoils by half a length from Ocean Wind.

It was Rainbow Dreamer’s first win from three starts this winter and sets him up for Lingfield on Good Friday (April 2).

“It was a very good ride from Hollie, so hopefully we’re bang on course for Lingfield now,” the King.

“There is a fast-track qualifier at Chelmsford, but I would imagine we’ll go straight to Lingfield. Easter is pretty earlier this year.”

Messire Des Obeaux is to be aimed at handicap chases in future
Messire Des Obeaux is to be aimed at handicap chases in future (Alab Crowhurst/PA)

King will be looking to running Messire Des Obeaux in handicap chases after the nine-year-old lost his unbeaten record over fences in the Grade One Scilly Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

The Barbury Castle trainer felt Messire Des Obeaux was totally unsuited by the testing conditions but was none the worse for the race.

“He’s absolutely fine. He was perfectly sound this morning. He couldn’t really handle that deep ground, but he’s OK,” he said.

“He’s now had his three runs so he does now qualify for those decent handicap chases, so I will have to have a look through. There maybe a race for him at Newbury in March, but I haven’t got a plan in place yet.”

Johnston team mulling Riyadh date for Mildenberger

Mildenberger could have big assignments in Saudi Arabia and Lingfield following his victory at Wolverhampton.

The Mark Johnston-trained stayer booked his place in the Betway Marathon Championship on All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday in a fast-track qualifier on Monday.

Before that, the six-year-old could pay a visit to the Middle East for the Long Distance Turf Handicap at Riyadh next month.

“He’ll definitely go to Lingfield on Finals Day and he’s in at Saudi next month,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.

“I’ll have to clarify how their system works out there as to whether he’ll get a penalty for his win, because at the moment he’s not guaranteed a run. Were they to pump him up the weights slightly, that might get him in.

“Were he to get a run, he could quite possibly go to Saudi. That’s about six weeks before the all-weather finals, so it won’t have any bearing on him going there.”

Prix Royal-Oak winner Subjectivist, the yard’s other entry in the one-mile-seven furlong handicap, has yet to secure a place, much to Johnston’s surprise.

“Subjectivist is in the same race at Saudi. I was a bit perplexed when I saw the entries that our 111-rated last time out Group One winner isn’t guaranteed a run and there are some pretty out of form horses above him in the weights,” he said.

Subjectivist (right) has an entry in Saudi Arabia
Subjectivist (right) has an entry in Saudi Arabia (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s going to need a couple of horses to come out to make sure he gets a run, so we will have to see how that transpires over the next couple of weeks, but he is back in work and we’ve got half an eye on that should he get in.”

Johnston revealed Leopardo is in Dubai and likely to run at Meydan next week. The three-year-old colt has an entry in the Saudi Derby.

“He is out in Dubai and he’ll probably run in the Al Bastakiya Trial next Thursday,” he said.

“He does have an entry in the Saudi Derby, but again he’s not guaranteed a run.”

Venturous and Bless Him book Finals Day tickets

Venturous and Bless Him secured their places for All-Weather Championships Finals Day with victories in the Fast-Track Qualifiers at Newcastle on Tuesday,

The David Barron-trained Venturous booked his ticket for the All-Weather Sprint Championship at Lingfield Park on Good Friday as he justified 9-4 favouritism in the Betway Conditions Stakes.

Partnered by Tom Marquand, the eight-year-old reeled in front runner Ornate to triumph by a length and a half.

Marquand said: “Venturous has done it extremely well.

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“Ornate is not a bad old horse himself and he takes a bit of getting back once he has worked up that lead, but this lad never really gave me a moment’s doubt. I found myself going down to the furlong pole thinking that I don’t want to take him off the bridle too soon.

“Whatever has clicked in him I am not sure, but David has obviously done a great job bringing him to fore at this age. He is improving and given he is now in for Good Friday, hopefully he can continue in this vein of form.

“To be honest, six furlongs at Lingfield could almost be comparable to five furlongs up here, being that this is a stiff straight track and you don’t get the chance for a breather whereas at Lingfield he will do.

“I guess on Good Friday you hope they go a good gallop as there is usually plenty of speed horses in there. He would need things to fall his way but if he continues on the trend that he is following at the moment, he should be on for a big run.”

Jamie Spencer executed a perfect waiting ride on Bless Him (10-1) in the Bombardier Conditions Stakes and David Simcock’s charge is now assured a place in the All-Weather Mile Championship on Finals Day.

Spencer only needed hands and heels to steer Bless Him to a half-length win over Count Of Amazonia, with favourite Ummalnar disappointing in fifth.

The rider said: “Bless Him did it well. I nursed him into the race and he had just enough in reserve to run them down late on.

“I thought he would need the run, especially as the track is riding quite deep which makes it quite demanding.

“He is moving really well at the moment – he is a horse that David has to be careful with. He only runs a handful times a year and it is good to get him to win on his first start because he generally improves a good bit for a run.

“He should have a good season even though he is a seven-year-old now. There is still plenty of life in him.”