A dramatic Fast-Track qualifier saw Kadrizzi (7/2) beat Field Of Vision (3/1) with hot favourite Gracious John (4/6) only third after running very wide on the bend in the five-furlong £30,000 totequadpot Conditions Stakes (3.10pm) on Polytrack at Chelmsford City today, Sunday, February 7.
Kadrizzi, trained by Dean Ivory and ridden by Robert Winston, receives an automatic free place in the £150,000 Unibet 3-Y-O Sprint All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes over the same distance at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 25.
Gracious John (David Evans/John Egan), who beat Field Of Vision (Joe Tuite/George Baker) in a Fast-Track Qualifier over a furlong further at Kempton Park on January 17, broke fast from stall two, went slightly right and bumped Kadrizzi, raced keenly and chased the leader Field Of Vision, drawn in one.
Egan had steering problems approaching the bend and was pulling hard to try and get the three-year-old to go left rather than straight on.
Gracious John did go around the bend but wide and veered even wider on the turn. He then ran on in the straight but couldn’t get to grips with Kadrizzi, who went to the front just inside the final furlong from Field Of Vision, despite the last-named battling all the way to the line. The margins were a half-length and the same again, with the winning time being 57.89s.
Winston said: “It was very straightforward. There was a strong gallop on and I was going to tuck him in nicely. But John’s horse was not helping him and so I nipped into a nice position turning in.
“I got a breather into Kadrizzi before I sent him on off the bend and he kept galloping until the line. He has just improved with each run.
“When he won last time, he was top of the handicap, giving about a stone away. The form of his races has worked out really well.
“It was a question of whether he was good enough to be able to take the Group performers and he has proved it today.
“Dean, who is not here today, will be very happy as those two we have beaten today will be the best two three-year-old sprinters around on the All-Weather. He beat them fair and square off level weights and must have a favourite’s chance on the big day.”
Ivory explained later that he is intending running Kadrizzi again before Good Friday.
The trainer said: “Kadrizzi is certainly going the right way. He may not look much but he has a big heart.
“He is definitely better over six furlongs but we never say never and wanted to try him over five furlongs, which he has now won his last two races over.
“We have trained him for the distance and he has handled it well again today, finishing strongly.
“The Final at Lingfield is still a long way off and we will probably run him again on March 4 at Wolverhampton where is there is another Fast-Track Qualifier over five furlongs with decent prize money.”
Egan commented immediately after the race: “Gracious John hated the track.
“He jumped out and I could not get him back onto his near-fore lead. He hated the ground absolutely, if they hate the ground they are not going to go – he couldn’t turn and he was feeling it pretty bad.
“I am trying to get him around the bend and he is going to go straight on. Even when I got him around the bend and got him straightened, he was still out, out, out.
“I thought he was going to win half-way up the straight but it was an impossible task then. He is serious horse – a very good horse – but just that track. We kind of had a feeling coming here that he would not like it, honest. But he will still win that big race on Finals Day.”
Egan reported to the stewards that Gracious John hung badly right throughout.
The stewards subsequently heard from the veterinary officer who said the colt was lame in front during a post-race examination. They did not hold an enquiry.