By Simon Jackson
Arena Racing Company (ARC) has expressed their delight at the quality of entries for the £1million All-Weather Championship Finals at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.
Qualifying races for the six championship events have been taking place since October at Lingfield, Kempton, Southwell and Wolverhampton. To qualify for the finals horses needed to run three times on the all-weather or win one of the 16 ‘fast-track’ qualifiers that ensure a start.
Entries for the six championship races – that comprises contests for three-year-olds, fillies and mares, a marathon, sprint, mile and a middle distance race – were revealed yesterday and ARC’s director of PR and communications, Kate Hills, is delighted with the entries.
“The new All-Weather Championships has worked well in attracting better quality horses to race at Britain’s four all-weather tracks since October and the entries for finals day are very pleasing,” Hills said.
“Trainers and owners have been very supportive of the new All-Weather Championships and it is great that 14 of the 16 Fast-Track Qualifiers are entered on finals day.
“We are looking forward to a terrific first day of racing on Good Friday, April 18, when £1 million in prize money is on offer at Lingfield Park – Europe’s richest-ever All-Weather raceday.”
The last of the fast-track qualifiers was decided at Kempton Park on Monday where the David Simcock-trained Castilo Del Diablo prevailed by a head in the day’s feature race and is now set to take his place in the two miles £150,000 32Red Casino Marathon.
“We rode Castilo Del Diablo slightly handier and it was a very pleasing performance,” Simcock said after the narrow victory. “Kempton probably suits him better than Lingfield as it’s a longer straight and they get racing earlier, which helps him.
“It was a solid field and he has been consistent now for the last five or six runs.
“You never really know if they will stay, but he has always given the impression that he would because he finishes off his mile and a half races very well.
“The 32Red Casino Marathon on Finals Day is the obvious race for him now. It’s a valuable race and it will be competitive without being too deep.”
Lingfield Park Race Programme All-Weather Championships Finals Day, April 18, 2014
13.45 £50,000 coral.co.uk All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap (1m 4f)
14.20 £150,000 32Red.com All-Weather Fillies’ & Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes (7f)
14.55 £150,000 32Red All-Weather Three-Year-Old Championships Conditions Stakes (7f)
15.30 £150,000 32Red Casino All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes (2m)
16.05 £150,000 bookmakers.co.uk All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes (6f)
16.40 £150,000 ladbrokes.co.uk All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes (1m)
17.20 £200,000 Coral Easter Classic All-Weather Middle-Distance Championships Conditions Stakes (1m 2f)
Read Horse Talk with Simon Jackson each day at London24 for the latest horse racing news.