By Simon Jackson.
A record 10,106 spectators attended the third All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday where course specialist Grendisar won the £200,000 feature.
The best ever attendance continued the year-on-year increase at the innovative fixture, which last year attracted a crowd of 9,021 and 8,777 in 2014.
The seven-race card this year offered total prize money of £1.1 million – headlined by the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic – and Lingfield’s executive director, Andrew Perkins, was understandably thrilled with the continuing success of Lingfield’s showpiece fixture.
“We are delighted to have a course record attendance today,” Perkins said. “All-Weather Championships Finals Day always has fantastic racing.
“It is wonderful to see so many racegoers attracted to Lingfield Park and enjoying themselves on this lovely day,” he continued ahead of the Marco Botti-trained Grendisar bagging his seventh win at the Surrey track.
The one length success under Adam Kirby completed a hat-trick of big race wins at Lingfield for the six-year-old, following victories in the Winter Derby Trial and Winter Derby to secure the All-Weather Horse Of The Year title.
“Grendisar has looked great for the last three weeks,” Botti revealed. “We could not have been happier with him, but you never know as things can go wrong in the race. There was a nice, genuine pace all the way and I was happy with Adam’s position.
“The horse picked up well again and, even though he challenged out wide, he ran all the way to the line. In the past, he was not really trying hard enough.
“He enjoys it around Lingfield and a mile and a quarter is his best trip. This year has been his best yet with all the big races he has won. He started off rated 64, but we found the key to him which is the surface.
“Unfortunately, he is not so good on turf but that is not a problem with all the good prize money on the All-Weather now. The plan is to put him away over the summer and bring him back next year as a seven-year-old.
“I was quietly confident with his form and we couldn’t be happier with him coming into the race. He’s a lovely horse and he deserved to win a big race like today. I am really delighted.”
Kirby added: “He is a proper racehorse and has never been in better form. He is a credit to Marco. It is a great day and everyone is happy.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.