The sixth All-Weather Championships crank up a notch this week with two Listed prizes for fillies and mares on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Thursday, November 1st.
There is Fast-Track Qualifier action courtesy of the £40,000 Ladbrokes EBF Stallions Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes (2.35pm, 19 entries) over a mile, with the winner guaranteed a free start in the seven-furlong £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championship back at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19th, 2019.
The two most recent renewals of the Ladbrokes EBF Stallions Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes were won by the now retired Muffri’ha and her in-form trainer William Haggas is likely to bid for the hat-trick with top-rated entry Move Swiftly.
Move Swiftly, who has an official rating of 104, posted an eye-catching success in handicap company at the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July. The three-year-old daughter of Farhh has since gone close in valuable fillies’ handicaps at York’s Ebor Festival in August and at Newmarket.
Unexposed three-year-old Lush Life (Jamie Osborne) is the least experience among the entries with four career starts so far, but she has won three times already.
The Michael Buckley-owned Mastercraftsman filly is unbeaten in two outings on the All-Weather and last time out posted her first victory on turf when the clear-cut winner of a seven-furlong handicap at Ascot.
Lambourn trainer Jamie Osborne said: “Lush Life is in good form at home and won nicely at Ascot earlier this month. We are considering the Fleur De Lys at Lingfield Park on November 1st for her.
“I would like to get a bit of black type with her as we think she is up to that level. She has a good pedigree and has done well so far.
“She had a couple of issues and niggles in the first half of the year, which stopped her from running, and we think there is more to come as we are yet to get to the bottom off her.
“She likes fast ground and has won twice on the All-Weather, at Kempton and Chelmsford.”
Lucymai (Dean Ivory) has registered seven successes on the All-Weather, the latest of which came in a lucrative seven-furlong handicap at Chelmsford City in August. She finished third in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies & Mares Championship on Good Friday earlier this year.
Shenanigans, one of two entries for trainer Roger Varian, started the 2018 campaign in fine form. She was runner-up in Listed contests on the All-Weather at Kempton Park and at Goodwood before an excellent third in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom Downs.
Newmarket-based Varian’s other entry Rasima posted a career-best when second behind Smart Call in the Hoppings Stakes on the Tapeta at Newcastle in June.
There is French interest courtesy of Poppet’s Promise, trained by Rod Collet. The four-year-old Bated Breath filly registered her only success to date on the Polytrack at Chantilly in February.
Others to note include Castle Hill Cassie (Ben Haslam), a Listed scorer at Pontefract in August, and Akvavera (Ralph Beckett), who has won her last two starts – handicaps at Sandown Park and Epsom Downs – in good style.
Britain and Ireland’s respective champion Jump trainers, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins, both have entries in the £40,000 Listed Ladbrokes EBF Stallions River Eden Fillies’ Stakes (3.05pm, 15 entries) over a mile and five furlongs.
Henderson’s representative Verdana Blue made a winning Flat debut at Chelmsford City in September, taking a novice contest by almost four lengths, and the six-year-old returned to hurdles with an impressive seven-length success in a Listed hurdle at Kempton Park.
Henderson said: “The secret to Verdana Blue is the ground. She is a very good mare on top of the ground and doesn’t enjoy soft ground. She is a sweet mare who loves the game and has a lovely turn of foot.
“We gave her a spin on the All-Weather at Chelmsford in September and she won that very nicely before following up at Kempton with a good victory.
“She has to stay on this ground and if it stays dry at Wincanton, something like the Elite Hurdle could be a possibility. The alternative is to go back to the All-Weather and get three runs into her so that she has got a proper mark.
“That could work during the soft ground period and then we could get her ready for the spring.”
Mullins has an excellent record with his runners on the Flat, as demonstrated recently by Low Sun leading home a one-two for the stable in the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket.
His entry Law Girl posted her best effort on the Flat when runner-up to stablemate Limini in a valuable staying handicap on Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown in September.
Haggas, who took the spoils last year with Daphne, has two possible starters in Dramtatic Queen and Klassique.
Architecture (Hugo Palmer) enjoyed an excellent campaign during her three-year-old season, finishing second in two Classics, the English and Irish Oaks. Now a five-year-old, she has not raced since contesting a race at Newbury a year ago.