By Simon Jackson at Lingfield.
Living The Life’s victory in the 32Red.com All-Weather Fillies’ and Mares’ Championship Final will be her last run in Britain and she will do her future racing in California.
The daughter of Footstepsinthesand provided Newmarket handler Phil McEntee with his biggest win to date when prevailing in the £150,000 contest under Adam Kirby; in what the trainer later confirmed was her last run in the UK.
“It’s truly amazing to win a race like this,” said McEntee. “Adam is a big asset and he dictated it from the front perfectly. He got the fractions just right.
“My brother is [owner] Hank Nothhaft’s racing manager in America and Hank had come over especially for this. It’s great for him and hopefully it’s the start of a long-term relationship.
“Adam came and rode this filly at home last week and she blew away a filly rated in the 90s so we were hopeful of a good run.
“We thought we had a good chance of getting some prize money because she was a course and distance winner, which only a couple of others were. It was also a big plus having Adam on and some of the other fancied horses weren’t drawn well.
“Paddy Aspell is my main jockey, but when I knew two weeks ago that Adam didn’t have a ride I booked him. He can be worth five lengths around here and business is business – they look at statistics closely in America.
“She will ship out to California and Gary Mandella will train her. She was going to head out earlier but when we saw the entries for this we rejigged things and decided to come here.”
Nothhaft said: “In the past we’ve bought horses in England and shipped them to the States but I decided to race a few horses in England as I love coming here.
“We’re so excited and very proud of the filly. Phil has done a great job for me and his brother Carl lives in Kentucky and is my bloodstock agent, so we’re keeping it all in the family.”
Another winner on Finals Day set to compete in America is Grandeur, winner of the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championship.
“Everything went wrong last time [when hampered in the Winter Derby], but to be honest I don’t think too much went right today,” Grandeur’s trainer Jeremy Noseda said after the head victory in the feature race of the day.
“There was no real pace for him – I’m thrilled that he’s won but it’s just a shame that he’s made such hard work of it.
“It sounds strange as I’m thrilled that he’s won, but he’s a much better horse than those he’s taken on today. They didn’t go quickly enough for him and he was quite handy, whereas I think he’s a better horse if he can sit further back in a strongly-run race.
“He’s never a horse who is going to win by a long way but I thought he’d have at least a length on them. He’s won though, that’s the main thing.”
“I was very disappointed on Winter Derby day, so I said before the race that this was redemption day and we’ve had redemption.
“He’s shown that he likes racing in America, so we’ll probably head to Belmont Park in May and June to race on the turf there.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.