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Monday 17 March 2014

All Weather Championships

The All Weather Championships finals are now only 1 month away and in the sprint division Simon Mapletoft has written the following piece on the Attheraces website.

Two horses have already secured their place in the six-furlong showpiece: the enigmatic VALBCHEK and revitalized veteran TAROOQ. The former smashed the track record when clinching his spot at Lingfield back in November, and Jeremy Noseda plans to bring him back from Dubai to take his chance. David Barron’s eight-year-old Tarooq lowered Valbchek’s time back in December and almost repeated the feat with a well-timed finish in the Listed Cleves Stakes last month.
Other key contenders are four-year-olds Rivellino and Lancelot Du Lac. Karl Burke’s Rivellino has improved markedly this winter, showing his aptitude for Lingfield when landing a competitive handicap and then closing down Tarooq to gain his first ‘Black Type’. He is improving at the right time, while Dean Ivory’s  Lancelot Du Lac will be fresher for a mid-winter break after posting some smart efforts in his three mandatory qualifying runs.
Hoof It posted his best run on Polytrack when chasing home Tarooq and Rivellino in that Listed dash and will be assured a run off his mark of 105, though he hasn’t looked a natural around Lingfield’s tight turns. Mick Easterby’s stalwart could be joined by fellow northern raider Alben Star, who has finally begun to deliver what he promised earlier in the season, though will have to improve again to be considered a likely winner.
The final Fast Track qualifier for the sprinters is the five-furlong Listed Hever Stakes on Winter Derby day, 22nd March.

The 15 entries for this contest include last year’s winner Ladies Are Forever (Geoff Oldroyd) who shaped well on her first start of 2014 when sixth in a Listed contest over six furlongs at Lingfield Park on February 27. Dual Listed scorer Stepper Point (William Muir) could make his All-Weather debut, while Addictive Dream (David Nicholls) and Even Stevens (Scott Dixon) have both won competitive five-furlong handicaps on the All-Weather last time out. Kingsgate Choice (Ed de Giles) is smart turf performer at the minimum trip but has not run on the All-Weather for almost two years.

By Thursday we should know the final line up and the blog will be covering this race later in the week.