18 April 2019
All-Weather sensation Lion Hearted aims to wrap up the Winning Most Horse award for season six of the All-Weather Championships on £1-million Finals Day at Lingfield Park tomorrow, Good Friday, April 19.
Lion Hearted faces 13 rivals in the £45,000 Sun Racing All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap (1.30pm) over seven furlongs, the first of seven races on the tremendous £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day card.
Formerly trained in Ireland by Tracey Collins, Lion Hearted (9st, ridden by Mark Crehan (5)) has won seven of his eight starts on the All-Weather this year for trainer Mick Appleby.
This remarkable run started from a mark of 45 at Chelmsford City on January 24 and the five-year-old is now rated 86 after registering three victories at Newcastle, a win at Wolverhampton and another two successes at Chelmsford City, the latest in a seven-furlong handicap on April 11. His only defeat came when tackling Fibresand for the first time at Southwell on March 14.
Lion Hearted's nearest pursuers for the Winning Most Horse title and its £10,000 prize, Matterhorn and Executive Force on six wins each, are also in action at Lingfield Park tomorrow. Both horses face an uphill struggle against Wissahickon in the feature £200,000 Betway Easter Classic (4.45pm, eight runners).
Appleby, who is based in Rutland, said: "Lion Hearted has been a real star for us this season.
"He started off from a mark of 45 at Chelmsford and is now rated 86, winning seven races along the way.
"This is another step up and will be his first start at Lingfield, but we are looking forward to running."
Lion Hearted (nearside)
Appleby is after other honours on Good Friday, chasing his third AWC Champion Trainer title (£10,000 prize) in the last four seasons - he was successful in both 2015/16 and 2017/18. As of this afternoon, he is at the head of affairs with 49 All-Weather winners since October 23, with John Gosden on 47 and Mark Johnston on 43.
Epsom trainer Simon Dow captured the Sun Racing All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap in 2017 with Forceful Appeal and is hoping to repeat the feat with course scorer Mr Scaramanga (9st 2lb, Levi Williams (7)).
Two of the Mr Scaramanga's four career victories have come at Lingfield Park, the most recent of which came under Levi Williams in a mile handicap in January. The five-year-old met trouble in running on his latest when fifth behind Executive Force over the same course and distance on March 23.
Dow reported: "Mr Scaramanga won under Levi earlier on this season, but has not followed up since.
"He shaped quite well at Lingfield last time and settled nicely, but had a wall of horses in front of him on the turn for home. Once the gap opened, he stayed on nicely, but he could not get to the leaders.
"He wasn't beaten too far and it was a creditable run. He has come out of that race in good order and, if he could find some of his old spark, he could run a good race, in what is an ultra-competitive handicap."
The maximum 14 runners also include top-weight Breathless Times (9st 12lb, Roger Charlton/Cameron Noble), who finished fourth in last year's £150,000 Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship on Good Friday, and recent Kempton Park scorer Poetic Force (9st 1lb, Tony Carroll/Poppy Bridgwater (3)).