Tom Lee's All-Weather Championships Blog & Saturday's Best Bets

Despite the Flat season celebrating the end of its turf campaign, high quality action on the level hasn't exactly been short on the ground this week, with a flurry of above average campaigners sighted on the all-weather. 

Kempton Park was the first to enter the spotlight on Monday, playing host to the 1m 3f London Middle Distance Series Final Handicap, a contest which attracted a final field of nine to play for a first prize of £38,814. 

Anyone who visited the Sunbury venue would've been more than happy with the spectacle offered up, as Sir Mark Prescott's bay Street Cry gelding, The Steward, landed the spoils, in doing so returning at a starting price of 7/2. 

Benefitting from the fitting of a pair of sheepskin cheekpieces combined with a typically positive ride from Luke Morris, the four-year-old was a length and a quarter too good for John Best's Revision, with the Sylvester Kirk inmate Charles Camoin a short head away in third. 

Bath Races : News Photo

The Steward has spent his entire seven race career running on the all-weather, and looking ahead he could be one for the £200,000 Middle Distance Championships Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 25th. 

Across the pond at Dundalk on Wednesday evening there was also some good sport to be had, notably Reckless Lad pocketing the 15,600 first prize in the mile Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap, running out a 10/1 winner for Wayne Lordan and Pat Martin. 

On the same evening big money was on offer at Kempton, where four horses rated in excess of 100 lined up for the seven furlong Boo Classic Conditions Stakes.

One of that quartet, top-rated Glorious Days, reared up when exiting the stalls and deposited Jimmy Fortune on the deck, making the task of 7/4 favourite Chookie Royale a good deal easier. 

It was an opportunity he didn't pass up, running out a well-backed winner from Justice Well, in the hands of Phillip Makin.  

Looking ahead to this weekend, not only is there high class action over the sticks at both Cheltenham and Punchestown, but also some outstanding racing to look forward to on the all-weather at Lingfield Park, with the Surrey track hosting a valuable seven race card on Saturday afternoon.

It's a day to look forward to, playing host to not one but two 'fast track qualifiers' for Championships Finals Day, specially staged races which guarantee the winner a place in their respective final come the end of March. 

Needless to say the standard is high, and prior to those two qualifiers there's the is a £19,000 guaranteed 0-105 Handicap run over a mile, due to go to post at 2.00pm.

There are several in there with possibilities, but the vote has to go to Mark Johnston's exciting three-year-old Revolutionist, a son of Pivotal who is due to be partnered by James Doyle for the first time. 

Already proven on the surface and indeed a course and distance winner when taking his maiden here in March, he has also won two handicaps since then, going in at both Windsor and Wolverhampton last month. 

Lingfield Races : News Photo

He's fit, improving, trained by a genius, likes the surface, on a roll after winning his last three, and favoured by receiving a couple of pounds from the older horses. 

It's also interesting to note that Johnston has another entry in the book for him on Tuesday (also at Lingfield), hinting that he might be anticipating a win followed by a follow-up run under a mandatory penalty, before the handicapper can have his say. 

Just 35 minutes later, the first of those keenly anticipated 'fast-track qualifiers' is the listed Unibet Golden Rose Stakes, a £40,000 six furlong contest which is chock-full of quality (2.35pm), much as you'd expect when there's not only big money on offer, but also a slot in the £150,000 Unibet Sprint Championships Final in four months' time.

A field of 12 features some really well known sprinters, but perhaps the one who can rise to the top is Karl Burke's Rivellino.

After a turbulent few years, in-form Burke is re-establishing himself as an ace dual purpose trainer, and he also runs Skinny Love in the same race.

Rivellino looks the one to concentrate on though, a tough and experienced sprinter who has an excellent record at Lingfield, posting lifetime form figures of 6, 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 7. 

Those figures improve again to 2, 3, 1, 7 when applied to races at listed level or above. 

Rivellino boasts placed efforts in both a Wokingham and Stewards' Cup on his CV, and after a break since a fair effort in the Ayr Gold Cup, looks poised to run a big race here under Dougie Costello. 

Good luck!


Saturday's best bets at Lingfield:

2.00 - Ladbrokes Handicap - 10 Revolutionist (win)

2.35 - Unibet Golden Rose Stakes - 7 Rivellino (win)