Tryster leads a powerful Charlie Appleby squad for the All-Weather Championships
Good Friday’s All-Weather Championships at Lingfield could turn into a benefit meeting for trainer Charlie Appleby, such is the strength of his battalions.
The Godolphin trainer has dominated the all-weather this winter, as is shown by his strike rate of 38%, and, of the 64 runners he’s sent to Lingfield since November 1, 26 have won for a £1 level-stakes profit of £14.63. That’s hardly an earth-shattering amount and it tells us that a lot of his winners were returned at short odds. Nonetheless, we should be wary of taking on anything he runs here and he is set to saddle four of the seven favourites at the meeting.
That includes TRYSTER in the Easter Classic (3.45pm) and now that Battalion, my each-way fancy against him, has been withdrawn I see no reason to take him on, although he’s no bet for me at odds-on. It’s quite possible he’s he best horse to have ever raced on the all-weather on Britain judged on his impressive victory in last month’s Winter Derby and, while the runner-up Grendisar might finish a little closer if he is played later, the result should be the same.
Appleby’s PRETEND is another short-priced favourite in the Sprint (2.10pm) and he too looks banker material having been handed an inside draw in stall two. The four-year-old has looked sensational since being switched to sprint trips (4-5 over 6f or shorter), overcoming a poor draw at Wolverhampton to defeat 12 rivals two starts back before taking the step up to Listed company over 5f here 20 days ago. He’s got as potent turn of foot as I’ve seen and providing he can avoid trouble in running – there’s always an element of luck involved in races here – he can show his rivals a clean pair of hooves. The best of these may be Rivellino and he’s the one for forecast backers.
I’m not wholly convinced over Appleby’s Portamento in the Three-Year-Old Sprint (4.15pm) as neither of the two races he’s won on the all-weather were that competitive and he’s not been out since winning at Wolverhampton in early December. Besides, he’s a stingy 9/4 and there’s better value to be had in backing George Baker’s HARRY HURRICANE, who has yet to finish out of the first on sand and is unexposed over sprint trips. He was beaten a neck by the reopposing Primrose Valley last time and he could easily reverse that form if ridden with a little more restraint, while he’s also better drawn in stall four with his rival out wide in box 10.
Appleby doesn’t have the favourite in the Three-Year-Old Mile (2.40pm) but he may well still win it with FOUR SEASONS, who represents some value at 13/2. He’d just about be favourite for this had he not met met with defeat here last time behind Lexington Times, who is the 7/4 market leader here. There are grounds for thinking the selection can turn the tables on the winner, who enjoyed a better run through that race, and the selection wasn’t given a hard time by Adam Kirby (who renews the partnership) once his chance had gone. He needs to prove he stays this far but he wasn’t stopping when winning his third all-weather start over 7f here two starts back, and I love the way he sticks his neck out and battles.
The Mile (3.15pm) provides Appleby’s fellow trainers with a chance to bag a big pot as he’s not represented, and it could be Dandy Nicholls who is celebrating. He’s doubly represented but his Don’t Call Me is surely making up the numbers, whereas stablemate SOVEREIGN DEBT has some classy form to his name and is the top-rated runner by some way. Runner-up to Farhh in the 2013 Lockinge, he has taken well to racing on the sand this winter, making a very pleasing return from his layoff when chasing home the reopposing Mindyourownbusiness over track and trip in January, before coming through late to land a Wolverhampton Listed event last time. He has too many seconds to his name to warrant a sizeable wager, but he still looks the most likely winner.
That just leaves the Marathon (4.45pm) in which ANGLOPHILE is fancied to cap what could be a red-letter day for Charlie Appleby, with James Tate’s LAMAR the suggested bet in the opening Fillies & Mares (1.40pm), having run well in defeat against the boys in the Winter Derby last time.
Good luck with your Lingfield bets and Happy Easter!
Lingfield 1.40, Lamar @ 6/1 Coral
Lingfield 2.10, Pretend @ 11/8 William Hill / Pretend-Rivellino reverse forecast
Lingfield 2.40, Four Seasons @ 13/2 BetVictor
Lingfield 3.15, Sovereign Debt @ 4/1 Paddy Power
Lingfield 4.15, Harry Hurricane @ 15/2 Paddy Power
Lingfield 4.45, Anglophile @ 2/1 bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.