Competition is hotting up in the bid to gain a free entry for the £1 million All Weather Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19 this year.
A six-race card at Wolverhampton this week on Wednesday January 2, includes a fast track qualifier with the £20,000 Ladbrokes Fillies’ Conditions Race at 2.50pm, where seven runners will race over seven furlongs.
The winner of this race is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies and Mares Championships Conditions Race over the same distance on the Polytrack at Lingfield Park on the Championships Finals Day.
Among the entries is Crossing The Line trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by David Probert, successful on four of her six starts as a three-year-old during 2018, while only being narrowly beaten on two other outings. She goes into tomorrow’s contest on a three-race winning streak.
By Cape Cross, she has turf wins at Chester and the Ebor Festival at York and went on to win a seven furlong handicap on polytrack surface at Chelmsford on December 6, beating the Dean Ivory-trained Lucymai by half a length.
Lucymai, ridden by Jack Duern, has seven wins to her credit on the all weather, with the latest in a seven furlong handicap at Chelmsford in August.
Another contender for the Lingfield race is Castle Hill Cassie, winner of a Listed race at Pontefract for trainer Ben Haslam, with Jason Watson riding, over course and distance on November 16. She subsequently defeated the useful Ghazawaat by a head in a fillies condition race over course and distance.
Her trainer is based in Yorkshire and has been aiming Castle Hill Cassie for the All Weather Finals Day since September. She has been lightly raced so that she goes to the Wolverhampton race fresh, with a view to then being in top form for April.
He said: “The timescale has worked out quite nicely and she has not had to be too busy during the winter from a racing point of view. She goes there quite fresh with a view to being spot on for April.
“It will probably require a career-best to win , as she has to give 3lb to the rest of the field today, which means she is 4lb wrong with a couple of them. But on the flip side she will have that 3lb up her sleeve off level weights come April.
“After today, she is going to be covered by Zoustar at Tweenhills Stud, probably in late February or early March. Then she will run on Finals Day hopefully in foal to Zoustar. That will most likely be her swansong.
“She will also have an entry in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton Park, which takes place the day after Good Friday next year because Easter is so late.
“From the prize money point of view, it is a no-brainer to run at Lingfield, plus I also think the track and trip will suit her better. At the same time, if Kempton looked more winnable, from a breeding point of view it is more valuable.
“Hopefully, Lingfield Park will be her race, as I think it is an important race to support and strengthen.”
In-form trainer Mick Channon and jockey Charles Bishop are chasing successive victories in the Ladbrokes Fillies’ Conditions Race with Pattie, having taken the spoils 12 months ago with Summer Icon.
Wolverhampton’s six-race programme starts at 12.40pm and ends at 3.20pm