Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
The countdown to the fifth All-Weather Championships Finals Day continued with the second of 24 fast track qualifiers decided at Lingfield Park on Thursday.
Contenders are guaranteed a place in one of the six championship races on Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday, March 30, 2018 by winning a Fast Track qualifying event.
Four qualifiers are scheduled for each of the championship categories hosted at racecourses in Britain, Ireland and France.
Finals Day is comprised of a seven race card that includes six championship races. The card is headed by the £200,000 Middle Distance Betway Easter Classic over 10 furlongs; with £150,000 offered for each of the other finals: the 3-Year-Old over six furlongs (sponsored by 32Red); Fillies & Mares over seven furlongs (sponsored by 32Red); Mile over eight furlongs (sponsored by Sun Bets); Sprint over six furlongs (sponsored by Betway) and the Marathon over 16 Furlongs (sponsored by Betway).
At Newcastle last week the Karl Burke-trained Beatbox Rhythm was the first to a secure a place in the line-up on March 30 when landing a conditions event over six furlongs.
Muffri’Ha was next to strike when winning the 32Red EBF Stallions Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield on November 2.
Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to the winning trainer, said: “Muffri’Ha is getting naughtier and naughtier before the race. She wasn’t great in Dubai in the winter, but we got round her and she ran really well in Dubai.
“She had a break in the summer and was very naughty at Newmarket first time back when she stopped to look at the television on the way down and then overshot the start and wouldn’t come back.
“We ponied her to the start on her last two starts at Newmarket, which worked well, but we thought she would be OK here today [without the pony] because she has run here twice and never been a problem. She got as far away as she could and then stopped, looked and waited for us to come and get her.
“She looked great and was in such good form that we decided to bring her here today. James [Doyle – jockey] did a good job. He said they did not go flat out from the gate, which helped her, and he gave her a lovely ride. You need a bit of luck when you are drawn out there in stall 11.
“It is obviously up Sheikh Juma [owner] but there is not really much more for her left to prove. She is Group 1 placed and Group 2 placed, and she has won a Group 3 and umpteen Listed races. I think she has done her stuff really and the most important thing is that she gets in foal next spring.
“She is what you would call a character. We have the hang of her at home, but she can still catch you out some mornings. She has been fantastic and has just improved and improved.
“She is pretty solid and reliable now – as long as you can get her to the stalls, you know she is going to give 100 per cent every time.
“Those animals are hard to come by and we will miss her.”
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.