The new and exciting British All-Weather Championships, which started so well on Saturday evening (October 26) at Wolverhampton, continue this week with the first WIN & YOURE IN race on Thursday, October 31 at Lingfield Park.
Arena Racing Companys £2-million plus injection of prize money and creation of the £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday (April 18) next year has transformed All-Weather Racing at the four British tracks that stage it.
Horses qualify for the six championship races on All-Weather Championships Finals Day by running in a minimum of three races at Britains All-Weather tracks - three owned by ARC, Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton, and The Jockey Clubs Kempton Park - between October 26 and April 12.
The other route is to win one of the 16 WIN & YOURE IN races which give guaranteed free entry into a specific race on Finals Day - the first is staged at Lingfield Park on Thursday, October 31, and qualifies the winner for the £150,000 32Red Fillies & Mares Stakes over seven furlongs on Good Friday.
The £40,000 Listed 32Red / EBFstallions.com Fleur De Lys Fillies Stakes (2.50pm), over a mile on Polytrack, has attracted 19 entries, with a maximum of 12 three-year-old or four-year-old fillies allowed to line up.
Jo Crowley, who trains in Dorset, has the progressive three-year-old Mystical Sapphire in the valuable contest which has attracted two possible overseas challengers in the German-trained Moi Lolita and Collusiva from Italy, as well as Enrol, owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Sir Michael Stoute in Newmarket, and two from champion Flat trainer Richard Hannon, the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned Forgive and Indignant, the property of Theakston Stud Syndicate.
Mystical Sapphire, owned by Liz Nelson, has won three of her five races, all on the Polytrack of Kempton Park over seven furlongs. The latest success was a clear-cut one, by two lengths in a Class Four handicap on October 16; the Sakhees Secret fillys first run for almost six months.
Jo Crowley said: We plan to run Mystical Sapphire in the 32Red / EBFstallions.com Fleur De Lys Fillies Stakes.
She has come out of her win at Kempton very well and I thought it was a nice performance. People will say she only beat a 70-rated horse, but it was the manner in which she did it that was encouraging.
She hated the ground when she ran in the Fred Darling at Newbury and we gave her a break after that. She has strengthened up a lot during that time and looks like a completely different filly now.
The owner is keen to have a crack at a Listed race and she is rated 90 now, so she deserves to take her chance.
I am all for the All-Weather Championships. I obviously love watching the great horses run in the big races during the summer, but the All-Weather Championships will keep good quality Flat racing going through the winter and provide trainers with the chance to win some nice prizes.
The excellent entries for the 32Red / EBFstallions.com Fleur De Lys Fillies Stakes and the other Listed race on the same Lingfield Park card, the 32Red.com / Choose EBF Nominated River Eden Fillies Stakes (3.20pm - 24), have pleased Jim Allen, ARCs Racing Director.
Allen said: The WIN & YOURE IN concept is an exciting one for the All-Weather Championships, giving a guaranteed place with no entry fees in the specified race on Finals Day.
This is the only one for the £150,000 32Red Fillies & Mares Stakes over seven furlongs on Good Friday and has succeeded in attracting two potential overseas challengers.
There are three WIN & YOURE IN races for each of the other five Championship races on Finals Day and we look forward to them.