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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.”