Middle-distance star Wissahickon and top sprinter Kachy feature among 101 excellent entries for All-Weather Championships Finals Day, the culmination of the All-Weather Championships season, at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19th.
Following three victories on the Polytrack card in 2018, French trainers are again set to mount a strong Finals Day challenge this year, with horses trained in France entered in all six championship contests for the first time.
Wissahickon has dominated the Middle Distance category of this season’s All-Weather Championships, which started on October 23rd, and the John Gosden-trained and Frankie Dettori-ridden four-year-old heads eight contenders for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic (4.15pm) over a mile and a quarter.
Last year’s Cambridgeshire handicap victor is unbeaten in three All-Weather appearances this season and is aiming to be the fourth horse to complete the Betway Winter Derby/Betway Easter Classic double following Tryster (2015), Grendisar (2016) and Convey (2017).
Wissahickon’s rivals are set to include the first two home from last year’s Betway Easter Classic – Victory Bond (William Haggas) and Master The World (David Elsworth) – plus French raider Roc Angel (Fabrice Chappet FR), a four-time All-Weather winner at Chantilly.
Matterhorn (Mark Johnston) and Executive Force (Michael Wigham) have improved markedly throughout the All-Weather Championships and both horses could bid for a seventh victory this season – joining Lion Hearted who earlier this week reached that figure. This means a very close battle for Winning Most Horse title.
Court House (John Gosden) and Pactolus (Stuart Williams), who filled the places behind Wissahickon in the Betway Winter Derby, also hold entries.
Kachy’s only defeat in five All-Weather starts came when he finished second to City Light in last year’s Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship (3.05pm, 13 entries) and the six-year-old will be bidding for compensation in the six-furlong highlight.
Tom Dascombe’s stable star has looked better than ever this season, having broken course records on both his outings over the winter, most recently when making all for a scintillating win in the six-furlong Listed Betway Cleves Stakes at Lingfield Park.
His owner David Lowe commented: “Kachy is in very good form. He did his last piece of work on Wednesday and everybody is happy with him.
“Tom is delighted with his preparation and his work rider was happy with how everything went earlier this week.
“Kachy has been in great form throughout the winter and he has won both of his races impressively. He won both races in more impressive manner than he did with his wins leading up to last year’s All-Weather Finals Day.
“I just think, particularly this year, he is much more relaxed. We feel like he has grown up a lot more this season. Last year, he could get a little fractious in his races, but this year he has been much more laid-back.
“He probably had his worst start ever in last year’s All-Weather Sprint, when he veered to the right from the stalls and was caught out wide from then on. If he had enjoyed a better start from the stall, he would’ve won. In the end, we set the race up for City Light, he deserved to win and we’re taking nothing away from him, but nothing went right for us last year.
“Coming into this year’s All-Weather Finals Day and given the manner of some of his victories, it would probably be a more relief in many ways rather than a delight if he wins!
“He has beaten all the English horses who are probably going to line up in the Sprint and with the greatest respect to the French sprinters, I don’t think they are probably as good as City Light was last term.
“If all goes to plan with Kachy at Lingfield, I think we would then target something like the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He ran at Chester’s May Festival last year, but I don’t think the gap between Good Friday and Chester will be long enough for him.
“Hopefully, he goes close at Lingfield and we are looking forward to running him.”
The French challenge for the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship is set to be provided by turf Listed winner Forza Capitano (Henri-Alex Pantall FR), who captured a Fast-Track Qualifier at Chantilly, while prolific Dundalk winner Alfredo Arcano is due to run for Irish trainer David Marnane.
Fast-Track Qualifier winners Encore D’Or (Robert Cowell) and Encrypted (Hugo Palmer) have also been entered alongside Above The Rest (David Barron), who took the Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton.
Above The Rest is also engaged in the Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championship (4.45pm), which has attracted a bumper entry of 20 including Oh This Is Us (Richard Hannon), who was twice placed on turf last year.
Cardsharp, third in the Middle Park Stakes in 2017, and Matterhorn could both line up for Mark Johnston, while other leading contenders include Keyser Soze (Richard Spencer), Silver Quartz (Archie Watson), Documenting (Kevin Frost) and Roc Angel (Fabrice Chappet FR).
All four Fast-Track Qualifier winners feature among 14 contenders for the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship (2.00pm) including Chelmsford City victor Amade, who is trained in France by Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti.
Stargazer (Philip Kirby), Aircraft Carrier (John Ryan) and Stamford Raffles (Jane Chapple-Hyam) have also secured their place by winning Fast-Track Qualifiers, while Spark Plug (Brian Meehan) and Petite Jack (Neil King) have both gained All-Weather Listed wins over shorter distances.
Rasima (Roger Varian), successful in the Listed Ladbrokes EBF Fleur de Lys Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield Park in November, features among three Fast-Track Qualifier winners entered in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships (2.30pm, 14 entries).
Island Of Life (William Haggas) and Clon Coulis (David Barron) have also gained a guaranteed place in the seven-furlong contest following victories at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford respectively.
Listed Betway Hever Sprint winner Gorgeous Noora (Archie Watson) has been entered along with Crossing The Line (Andrew Balding) and Castle Hill Cassie (Ben Haslam) plus the French-trained duo of Cry Baby (Yann Barberot FR) and Silvery Mist (Fabrice Chappet).
Fast-Track Qualifier are well-represented in the six-furlong Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old Championship (3.40pm, 12 entries), with Concierge (George Scott), Deputise (William Haggas) and Deep Intrigue (Mark Johnston) entered.
Charming Kid (Richard Fahey) gained an easy win at Dundalk on his latest outing, while Pizzicato (Fabrice Chappet FR) brings a high level of French form, having taken the Listed Prix Montenica at Chantilly.
The opening Sun Racing All-Weather Championship Apprentice Handicap (1.30pm, 20 entries) is looking a competitive race, with Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championship contenders Goring (Eve Johnson-Houghton), Breathless Times (Roger Charlton) and Glendevon (Richard Hughes) in the seven-furlong contest.
Other contenders include Lion Hearted (Michael Appleby), who currently heads the Winning Most Horse standings with seven wins, and last year’s scorer Take The Helm (Brian Meehan).