Mildenberger Wins Final Fast-Track Qualifier At Chelmsford

Fast Track Qualifiers

09 March 2020

Mildenberger landed the knockout blow in the concluding Fast-Track Qualifier of this season's All-Weather Championships, the £20,000 tote Conditions Stakes (7.30pm) at Chelmsford City this evening, Saturday, March 7.

Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Franny Norton, Mildenberger is now guaranteed a run in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.

A select line up for tonight's two-mile Polytrack contest also included G1 runner-up Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop/PJ McDonald), who shouldered a 5lb penalty thanks to his G3 triumph at York last summer, and Khalid Abdullah's 111-rated Weekender (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori). Both horses were having their first starts of the year. Mildenberger, meanwhile, came into the race at the top of his game following an impressive victory in a two-mile conditions race at Lingfield Park on January 31.

Front runner Weekender and Mildenberger, sent off the Evens joint favourites, dominated the race from the outset and it was clear rounding the home turn that they had it between them. Mildenberger battled his way to the front approaching the furlong marker and had the race won when edging across Weekender, who was eased close home. The winning verdict was four and a half lengths, with 15 lengths back to the outsider Eddystone Rock [John Best/Kieran O'Neill) in third. 

Norton said of the five-year-old: "That was no shock to me - people underestimate this horse.

"Mildenberger finished third behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup last season and was second to Roaring Lion in the Dante as a three-year-old. He has been a solid ,100-plus rated horse the whole way through his career. 

"Weekender is a proper horse, we know that, but he has had his wobbles whereas Mildenberger seems to be getting better.

"There were nearly 100 years of experience between me and Frankie on the front end. I thought if we don't know what we are doing, then God help the rest!"

Earlier on the card, Ben Curtis continued his march towards the All-Weather Jockeys Championship with a front-running victory on Godolphin's Beautiful Illusion (1/2F) in the Peter Andre Ladies Day Fillies' Novice Stakes over a mile. The daughter of Shamardal was dropping back in distance for trainer Charlie Appleby following a debut success in an extended nine-furlong novice race at Wolverhampton on February 10.

Curtis, riding his 97th winner of the campaign, said: "The penny had dropped a bit more with her today and she won comprehensively at the line. 

"I had it lovely and easy in front, and I probably had it too easy to be honest, but I did not want to give her a hard race. Had I gone a quicker, I think I would have won more comprehensively.

"She will have learned a bit more today and won't mind going back up in trip."

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