05 March 2019
Newmarket trainer John Ryan is doubly-represented by Grey Britain (Adam Kirby) and Aircraft Carrier (Tom Queally) in the £20,000 Bet totequadpot At totesport.com Conditions Race (6.25pm, six runners) on Polytrack at Chelmsford City.
The winner of the two-mile contest is a guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.
Grey Britain has a 50 per cent win rate from four starts on the All-Weather this winter and sets the standard with a rating of 105. The five-year-old finished third on his latest start behind shock winner Stamford Raffles in a Fast-Track Qualifier on Polytrack at Kempton Park on February 16, in which Higher Power (James Fanshawe/George Wood) was fourth.
Aircraft Carrier is chasing a four-timer after getting the better of Festival Of Ages in a two-mile Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton on January 14. That followed handicap successes at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford City in December.
Mark Johnston's runner Elegiac (Franny Norton) was a model of consistency in 2018 and gained a deserved success in a lucrative 14-furlong turf handicap at York in October. He has not raced since going down by a neck in the Bet totetrifecta At totesport.com Galleywood Handicap at Chelmsford City on November 10.
French-trained challenger Amade (Alessandro & Giuseppe Botti/Andrea Atzeni) is no stranger to success on these shores, having impressed when taking a two-mile handicap in good style at Kempton Park on January 5. He has won his last four races and is ridden for the first time by Andrea Atzeni.
To Be Wild (Hugo Palmer/Tom Marquand) has been lightly-raced since bolting up in a 12-furlong handicap at Doncaster in October, 2016. He ran twice on turf in 2018, coming home 14th in the November Handicap at Doncaster and ninth when last seen out in a Listed contest at Toulouse, France, in December.
The six-year-old's sole All-Weather appearance saw him finish eighth in a valuable handicap over an extended mile and a half on Tapeta at Newcastle on Good Friday in 2017.
The son of Big Bad Bob has yet to race over further than an extended mile and a half.
Palmer said: "To Be Wild had an injury last summer and was a long time off the track.
"He ran OK in the November Handicap and then was a bit disappointing in France on very, very soft ground.
"He is a little wrong at the weights on Thursday and has yet to prove that he goes on the All-Weather, but I can't see why he shouldn't.
"I am hoping the step-up in trip and first-time blinkers can bring out improvement."
Later on the card, the 101-rated Clon Coulis is the headline act in the rearranged £20,000 Bet totetrifecta At totesport.com Fillies' Conditions Race (6.55pm, five runners) over a mile, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies & Mares' Championship over seven furlongs on Good Friday. This race was originally set for February 7, but could not be run then because of the equine flu outbreak.
Clon Coulis (David Barron/Jamie Spencer) struck twice at Listed level in 2018, notably in the Valiant Stakes at Ascot in July, and was not disgraced on her latest outing when fifth in the G3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown Park on September 1.
The opposition is led by Pattie (Mick Channon/Callum Shepherd), whose efforts this winter include a good third behind Flaming Spear in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park in November.
Course scorer Emily Goldfinch (Phil McEntee/Rossa Ryan), the hat-trick seeking First Link (Jean-Rene Auvray/Hollie Doyle) and Lady Alavesa (Gay Kelleway/Josephine Gordon) also run.
Thursday's Chelmsford City card takes place between 5.25pm and 8.25pm.