If it’s Good Friday it must be All-Weather Finals Day at Lingfield although I am slightly surprised that three of the six Championship races have not filled. As is often the case on the track, luck will play its part and we are likely to have several hard luck stories.
In the opening Marathon Island Brave is the only course winner in the seven-runner field and there is no guaranteed pace in the race with the likelihood of a tactical affair. Rainbow Dreamer made all in a slowly run affair at Kempton last time and Martin Harley is likely to want to try and stack them up before kicking going into the final bend.
Australis (2.00) was slowly away when scoring at Wolverhampton back in January and cannot afford such a luxury in this grade, but I hope to see Jack Mitchell race prominently from stall one and ensure a good even gallop. The ew selection – 17/2 with William Hill – has a bit to find on official figures, but he has a good record on polytrack and trainer Roger Varian, at the time of writing, has saddled two winners from his last three runners.
Indie Angel (2.35) came from last to first under Frankie Dettori to land a qualifier for the Fillies & Mares here back in October over a mile when she was visually very impressive despite taking the scenic route. On closer inspection she may have been slightly fortunate as runner up Lavender’s Blue – entered at Kempton on Monday – failed to get a run at a crucial stage. The grey will have the race run to suit with Fizzy Feet likely to make the running and a bigger danger is likely to come from Shimmering Dawn who was disappointing at Wolverhampton last time but is a better horse on polytrack. The selection is 5/6 with BetVictor.
In the 3-y-old 6f sprint Diligent Harry (3.45) was not the best away and Adam Kirby took time to get him organised when losing his unbeaten record over C&D last time, but he was the best horse in the race and both horse and jockey are likely to have learnt plenty from the experience. There is little guaranteed pace in the race, which is a cause for concern, but I believe the Clive Cox-trained colt is the best horse in the race, but he may need luck in running. The selection is 7/4 with MansionBet.
Forest Of Dean was given an inspired ride when scoring over C&D back in February, but Bangkok (4.15) should have the race run to suit with Sky Defender and Palavecino likely to go forward from the stalls and the Andrew Balding-trained five-year-old entire can get back to winning ways. He would have been a confident selection were it not for a recent trip to Saudi Arabia when he never got competitive on dirt in the Saudi Cup a race won by the brilliant Mishriff. The money has come for the horse and he is currently a shade of odds on at 5/6 with 10Bet.
Khuzaam heads the market in the Mile having returned to winning ways at Chelmsford last time over 7f. He is proven on polytrack, has been very well backed antepost and sets the standard, but I hope to see Mums Tipple (4.55) build on his excellent comeback win at Wolverhampton last time over an extended 7f. The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – looked a potential superstar when winning a valuable sales race at York as a juvenile but bombed out in the Guineas and last season was a virtual write off. Ryan Moore was in the saddle on the Knavesmire and at Dunstall Park last time, but Sean Levey should know the gelding well enough from the Richard Hannon gallops.
Rab Havlin shuns a host of good opportunities at Lingfield to head north for the Gosdens to Newcastle and he is taken to land both the listed Burradon Stakes aboard Megallan (3.25) and 12f handicap courtesy of Defined (4.00). Megallan was caught in a pocket but finished strongly when second at Lingfield over 7f last time and this straight mile will suit. The selection is 8/11 with Boylesports.
Defined – 2s with BetVictor – was beaten by Glen Force over 10f at Chelmsford on his penultimate start and meets that rival on the same terms today. The step up to 12f brought about significant improvement at Kempton last time and he has certainly improved for the application of cheekpieces in his last couple of starts.