It is a pleasure that WhichBookie are sponsoring the entire all-weather card at Lingfield today and I have sought this out as an opportunity for myself to dip my toe into the all-weather action by previewing all the races on the card. It is a tricky card, which is to be expected given the nature of the races on show, but hopefully we can find a winner or two together from the meeting.
2.10 – 1m4f Handicap (Class 5)
A competitive race to start the card as this middle distance all age handicap has a few horses entering here on an upward trajectory. None more so than Chai Yo Power, who broke his duck at Windsor last time out when getting up to win by a head on his second start in handicap company. He still looked green on that occasion and I think it is fair to assume that there may well be more to come from this Sir Michael Stoute trained horse. The trainer has an excellent record in progressing older horses at these sorts of distances, so he may well be able to back it up. Dreams Unwind is probably his biggest danger, who won nicely at Carlisle two starts back over 1m3f. Her attempt at backing that performance didn’t quite materialise when she ran a grand but ultimately, short of the mark effort over the same C&D a few weeks later. Chai Yo Power is the best price of Evens – which is too short for me to get involved in.
2.40 – 1m2f Handicap (Class 6)
This is a very hard handicap to solve as it sees a lot of formerly decent types trying to get their careers back on track. The one that I am particularly drawn to is Fox Leicester, who is dropping down to a mark of 57, and is having his first start over the 10 furlongs trip today. When formerly trained by Andrew Balding, this horse looked very promising when winning two races in his 3YO season, but has regressed since then and has been well short of the mark for Shaun Keightley. This being said, he steps up in trip, which should suit and Silvestre De Sousa, who takes the ride, is the only jockey to steer this horse past the post first. Everything directs me to thinking that this might be the day that he returns to a bit of form. He’s 9/1 with the majority of firms, which I think is a fair each way price – but he won’t be an official selection.
3.10 – 7f Handicap (Class 6)
I think it’s fair to say that all the races on this card are competitive, but over these sorts of trips – you have to bear in mind the draw at Lingfield, with low to middle numbers usually the ones to be focusing on. The horse I was quite keen on for this race is Bythebay, who looks to be coming into this race with a very solid chance for James Ferguson and Stephen Mooney, who is taking off a very valuable 7 pounds. This horse came close on his first two starts for Joe Tuite, and after a few disappointing efforts, was transferred to James Ferguson. He has been very consistent for this yard so far this year, culminating in a good second on this mark on the Lingfield turf course. This could well be his big chance to break his duck and hopefully he can do the job. He’s a best price of 5/1, which was slightly shorter than what I was hoping for – and therefore I’m happy to leave him.
3.40 – 7f Classified Stakes (Class 3)
This is quite clearly the feature on the card tomorrow afternoon, which sees a strong five strong field being headed by Motawajeed, who came second at Thirsk last time out after winning at Wolverhampton the start before that. He looked a smart prospect that day and potentially might have more to give. However, I would be siding more so with Royal Pleasure, who has been in excellent form overall for Sir Mark Prescott this year. Up until his effort at Royal Ascot, he had won twice and come second twice in his four starts. He ran a solid race to be mid-division in the Brittania at Ascot, and this is a marked step down in grade. I would be disappointed if he was not there to win tomorrow. At a price of 15/8 with Bet365, he is my first selection of the day.
4.10 – 7f Nursery Handicap (Class 6)
These 2YO handicaps are often the hardest to dissect given that it is always very hard to judge and balance each 2yo race in comparison to the other. These wouldn’t be betting heats for myself, as I would prefer to stand back and judge a lot of these horses after they ran once or twice in handicaps. That being said, if you were to pin me down for a selection – I would perhaps give a chance to Vaxholm, who is off bottom weight of 45, with Laura Coughlan taking another 5 pounds off. He ran a good race last time out when finishing a close fourth at Beverley and may improve a bit more for that. At a tempting each way price of 22/1 with SkyBet, I am going to have a small play.
4.40 – 6f Handicap (Class 5)
The finale on the six race card is a six runner handicap over 6f. Plenty of these sprinters are out of form, but that can often happen with this sort of grade. This is another race that I would struggle to have much confidence in, but if pressed for a pick – I would side with Salsoul – who is potentially very well handicapped for David O’Meara. Having been a decent type for Mark Johnston early on in his career, he has slightly fallen by the wayside in recent runs, and comes here with a point to prove. Back to a mark of 65 should give him a chance and this is another drop in grade. However, there are too many risks for me to be swayed into a selection.