Surfing The Sand
Sprinters who will feature in the £150,000 Final at Lingfield Park next month come head to head in the big race of the weekend at the Surrey track and our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft analyses the race in this weekend’s preview.
STONE LOOKS IRRESISTIBLE IN RED HOT LINGFIELD SPRINT
Andrew Balding’s STONE OF DESTINY can capitalise on a drop in grade when he returns in the Betway Casino Handicap (3.45) at Lingfield Park on Saturday.
The classy four-year-old, who was a close fourth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup last season, makes his handicap debut over the flying 5f on his qualifying run for next month’s Sprint Final.
The son of Acclamation has been granted a plum draw in stall two with top jockey James Doyle in the saddle for the first time.
Stone Of Destiny finished third on his re-appearance in a 5f Fast Track Qualifier at Newcastle in January and filled the same position behind the lightning-fast Kachy and subsequent winner Gorgeous Noora in the Listed Cleves Stakes over Lingfield’s 6f.
His latest effort was at least as creditable - he would almost certainly have won a £100,000 Group 3 in Qatar but for suffering horrendous traffic problems.
An additional furlong would arguably suit him better but the pace should be strong enough to play to his strengths with the likes of Doctor Sardonicus, Gracious John and Corinthia Knight in the line-up.
The latter - last year’s 3YO Champion - posted a solid effort behind Royal Birth in a similar course and distance handicap last month and Tom Greatrex’s 5lb claim could help him turn the tables if he can overcome a tricky draw in stall 10. He could be value for a place.
THE FORCE IS WITH EXECUTIVE IN MILE TRIAL
The resilient EXECUTIVE FORCE shows no signs of crying ‘enough’ after winning five times in five weeks and can stake his claim for a place in the £150,000 Mile Final on Good Friday by recording win number six in the Sun Racing No1 Racing Site Handicap (3.10) at Lingfield Park on Saturday.
His only defeat in that sequence came at Kempton Park behind the upwardly mobile Matterhorn, who was home and dry by the time Michael Wigham’s gelding got into the clear.
He was awarded his latest victory in the stewards’ room at Wolverhampton last week when he went down by a diminishing nose after being checked at a crucial stage and resumes off just a 2lb higher mark in the 1m feature.
As long as his busy spell doesn’t catch up with him, Executive Force looks well placed to take a step closer to a run, in next month’s showpiece over the same course and distance.
The five-year-old boasts by far the best form in the races, having finished in front of one of his main rivals Nonios in that battle with Matterhorn over 1m2f at Kempton two starts ago.
It could be argued that David Simcock’s gelding is a better proposition on a left-handed track but despite being significantly better off at the weights he may just find the drop back in trip against him.
Less exposed is Tom Dascombe’s Sha La La La Lee - the likely pace angle to the race who has been gelded since beating two of Saturday’s rivals, Family Fortunes and Insurgence, over course and distance earlier this month. He has won two of his three starts on The All-Weather and should again be competitive following a 2lb rise.
3.10 LINGFIELD, SATURDAY
EXECUTIVE FORCE (NAP)
3.45 LINGFIELD, SATURDAY
STONE OF DESTINY
James Fanshawe’s daughter of Frankel impressed me with the ease of her victory in a 7f fillies’ handicap at Wolverhampton last week, and she could yet emerge as a late contender for the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final on Good Friday. A justified 8lb rise for her hat-trick success puts her on a mark of 91 but everything she has done so far suggests she is potentially Pattern class and that valuable race could prove an ideal stepping stone to Listed company.
This versatile filly may well have won a 5f handicap at Southwell last week had she not blown the start. She finished well to be second to the much better placed previous winner Warrior’s Valley and can gain compensation in the coming weeks. She’s also proven herself over the minimum trip at Newcastle and her in-form trainer Ivan Furtado can be relied upon to place her to optimum effect.
Keith Dalgleish’s gelding faced a tough task against the likes of Executive Force and Salute The Soldier over the extended 1m at Wolverhampton last week but finished with a flourish to get within half a length of them at the line. Previously he beat all bar the smart Matterhorn at Chelmsford City and looks set to capitalise on an unchanged mark, possibly back at Newcastle where he won a good handicap in January.
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