Let’s Go and Goken gained automatic qualification for All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, March 25, with impressive Fast-Track Qualifier victories at Lingfield Park on Saturday, November 14.
Godolphin won the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic on Good Friday last season with Tryster and Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation could be represented in the 2016 renewal with progressive Street Cry three-year-old Let’s Go, who captured the £45,000 Listed Coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes (3.10pm).
Sent off a 5/4 favourite for the 10-furlong contest, Let’s Go (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) raced prominently throughout and ran on well in the closing stages to score by three quarters of a length in 2m 3.69s.
Last year’s Coral Easter Classic third Grendisar (Marco Botti/Adam Kirby) flashed home to take second, a nose ahead of French challenger Metropol (Pia Brandt FR/Theo Bachelot) as the first three finished clear of the others.
James Doyle commented: “I thought that Let’s Go was the best horse going into the race but the start here is tricky – if you miss the break, it can all go to pieces. He got a little bit worked up in the gates but actually hit them really well.
“A good start gives you options. They went a decent pace all the way through and I was actually a touch handier than I wanted to be, which is why it looks like he hasn’t won as well as he has.
“We were looking for a decent pace and that’s the way it worked out. I jumped so well that I ended up sitting a bit closer.
“He is qualified for Finals Day now and everyone will sit down and have a chat whether he will go to Dubai to see how he takes to the dirt out there. He is certainly one to look forward to.
“He is still learning. He got a little bit lonely when he got in front because Metropol was away from him. He is learning all of the time and is exciting.”
Marco Botti said: “It was nice to see Grendisar back to his best. He was probably a bit unlucky – Adam said that he could have done with a stronger pace – but he showed the same tremendous turn of foot that he had last year.
“We wanted to run him back quickly today because it didn’t really work out for him at Kempton last time out, when there wasn’t much pace. He should have a good chance on Good Friday based on how he finished the race today.”
Pia Brandt remarked: “We know that Metropol is a very good horse on the All-Weather but, when we looked at the form and ratings of the other horses, we were not too positive. We don’t have many races for him in France on the All-Weather, so we said that we had nothing to lose and we wanted to give it a try.
“The track was new to him and he has never gone left-handed on the All-Weather before. He found it a little bit hard to turn on the last bend but he went to the line and we are really delighted by his performance.
“We had success on Good Friday last season with Fresles and we will try and give it another try again this time.”
Goken outclassed his rivals with a decisive win under Graham Lee in the six-furlong £40,000 Unibet Golden Rose Stakes (2.35pm) to guarantee a place in the £150,000 Unibet All-Weather Sprint Championship on Finals Day.
The three-year-old won two Group Three races for his former trainer Henri-Alex Pantall and the 8/1 chance made a successful debut for his new handler, Yorkshire-based Kevin Ryan, when quickening clear to beat Jamesie (David Marnane IRE/Pat Smullen) by a length and a half in a fast time of 1m 9.59s.
Graham Lee said: “I spoke to Kevin on the way down and he said that he was very, very fond of Goken and he has obviously been showing the right signals at home
“It’s the first time I have ridden him but the horse is very professional and all went well.
“He was drawn to attack but missed the break a fraction and then there was enough pace that I could slot into the box seat. It all worked out well – he was very professional and very likable.”
David Marnane commented: “It was a good run from Jamesie. It’s a tricky track and he probably got a little bit further back than we wanted but he came home well. He seemed to handle the place very well, which is the most important thing.
“A hard-run six furlongs is probably his best trip – he really needs them to go quick and come back to him a little bit. The winner today has some very good form and is a proper horse, so it’s no bad thing to be second.
“We will try to get him qualified for Finals Day and he will have a winter break before a prep-run for Good Friday. The main thing is that it would be great to come back here.
“Like a lot of horse in our place, he seems to keep going. He is definitely competing at as good a level as he ever was.”
Mindurownbusiness won a pair of valuable contests at Lingfield Park and Wolverhampton during the 2014/2015 All-Weather Championships and the Roger Varian-trained four-year-old enjoyed a winning start to this season’s campaign with smooth victory in the £19,000 Ladbrokes Handicap (2.00pm)
Making his first start since finishing ninth in the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile on Good Friday, the Alan Spence-owned colt quickened strongly for Jim Crowley to score by a length and a half at odds of 5/1, despite conceding weight to his eight rivals.
Roger Varian commented: “Mindurownbusiness was good today and the race suited him. He has got a very high cruising speed and they went hard early on. Although they looked to slacken the pace through the race, the early pace gave him the chance to drop the bridle.
“He travelled very strongly and picked up before getting a little tired in the last 100 yards but he had the race won by then.
“We will see how he comes out of this race but there is a nice Class Two handicap at Chelmsford City, which might come a bit quick because it’s in nine days’ time. He is off a rating now that we can pick our races through the winter.
“We would love to have him in good form for the All-Weather Finals race over a mile on Good Friday.”
Winning owner Alan Spence said: “We bought Mindurownbusiness at the sales last year intentionally to run on the All-Weather. He had four runs last season, winning two nice races, and he missed the break on Good Friday – if you miss the break in a top race, you have had it.”
Jim Crowley added: “It’s obviously Mindurownbusiness’ first start after a while off and it was a nice performance to do that in the way he did. They went a nice pace and he likes that. It was a very smart performance and hopefully he can come on again for it.
“Things probably didn’t work out for him on Finals Day – it was a rough race with a lot of runners – and he’s back to where he left off last season.”
Godolphin’s Race Day could also be in line for Good Friday following a straightforward success in the opening 32Red/British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (12.15pm) over a mile.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained juvenile, sent off a 5/6 chance after winning a seven-furlong maiden at the course on October 29, made most of the running to score by a cosy length under James Doyle.
Doyle commented: “It was a nice straightforward performance from Race Day. He was a bit wayward on his first couple of runs but it would be hard to crib him on his last two starts.
“He stayed the mile really well – we set good fractions the whole way to try and get them on the stretch – and he was always doing just enough.
“We will keep pressing on with him and probably run him in Fast-Track Qualifier for Good Friday now.”