Lingfield Park celebrated the 30th anniversary of All-Weather racing in Britain this afternoon, Tuesday, October 31, with two Listed races for fillies and mares among an excellent seven-race card.
Proceedings were dominated by John Gosden and Aidan O'Brien, who are battling it out to be crowned champion Flat trainer in Britain for 2019 (the championship runs up until December 31).
Reigning champion Gosden sent out first and third the Listed Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost EBF Fleur De Lys Fillies' Stakes (2.30pm), with Scentasia (David Egan, 10/1) posting a decisive victory over Chaleur (Ralph Beckett/Rob Hornby, 15/2) and her more fancied stablemate She's Got You (Rab Havlin, 7/2jf).
Scentasia, one of three runners for Gosden in the mile contest, broke on terms from stall 9 and settled in midfield of the 12 runners. She made an early move on the outside approaching the final turn and drew level with leader California Love (Richard Spencer/Tom Queally) as the runners straightened for home.
Scentasia, racing in the colours of Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, hit the front passing the furlong pole and the three-year-old daughter of Cape Cross stayed on stoutly to win by two lengths in a time of 1m 35.65s.
The Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost EBF Fleur De Lys Fillies' Stakes was a Fast-Track Qualifier and Scentasia is now guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies & Mares' Championship (7f) at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10, 2020.
David Egan, who won this race aboard Rasima in 2018, said: "It's great for Mr Gosden - this is my second winner for him - and good for Sheikh Juma and connections. She is a nice filly.
"I had a good run round. I was a bit wide from the wide draw and I didn't want to bully her early on. They said that she will get 10 furlongs next year, so I was happy just to let her roll along before the bend. I think I got her going earlier than the rest of them did and she kept going to the line.
"You can definitely tell the difference with the surface. I feel that a lot of the fibres are still sitting on top, which makes it ride a bit slower than usual and it probably helped Scentasia. I got her going early and a lot of horses wouldn't have picked up as well kicking off the bend. I think I got first run on a slow-riding track."
Ireland's champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien enjoyed two winners later on the card. Delphinia (4/6f) overcame trouble in running to win the Listed Ladbrokes Football Acca Boosty EBF River Eden Fillies' Stakes (3.35pm, 1m 5f), after King Of Athens (15/8) shed his maiden tag impressively in the Ladbrokes "Play 1-2-Free" On Football/British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (3.00pm, 7f). Both horses were ridden by Seamie Heffernan, completing a 4.8/1 double for the Ballydoyle team.
Delphinia, with an official rating of 113, was the class act at Lingfield Park this afternoon. The three-year-old Galileo filly finished second in the G1 Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp on October 5 and filled the same position behind Star Catcher when going down by a short-head in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 19.
Prior to today, O'Brien's last winner on the All-Weather track at Lingfield Park came courtesy of Castle Gandolfo in the Listed International Trial Stakes on April 6, 2002.
Heffernan said: "Delphinia's class got me out of trouble. I got back [in the field] and then I got wide, but the race did not get going and we were racing downhill.
"I wanted to wait until I had a clean shot before getting stuck into her. She was by far the best horse in the race and all I had to have was a little bit of confidence. She got me out of trouble in the end.
"King Of Athens is a smart horse. He ran very well in the Coventry so it was not a surprise that he won, and he won well. Hopefully, he can improve.
"This is a brilliant [All-Weather] track and a brilliant facility. As long as they go a nice gallop, there is no hard luck stories. It's when the pace drops and you are coming from behind that things can get messy, but it was a nice visit for me."