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Tricolore flies high over Lingfield after trio

05/04/2018
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GOOD FRIDAY at Lingfield, the All-Weather Championships Finals Day, proved a productive one for horses trained in France with half of the main six prizes heading back across the English Channel. Completing the trio was Lucky Team who finished with a wet sail in the All-Weather Mile, following earlier victories of Funny Kid in the Marathon and City Light in the Sprint. One of the outsiders and trained by Joel Boisnard, Lucky Team, on whom Theo Bachelot was ice cool in the saddle, entered the straight nearer last than first.

Up front, favourite Second Thought had seen off determined challenges from Captain Joy and Goring in the final furlong, but he had no answer to Lucky Team’s late burst and there was a length and a quarter between them at the line. Completing a double, Bachelot said: “To ride two winners, I’m very happy. He needs to come from behind. In his races in the last year he’s been in front. Normally I come to Lingfield and I would be happy to place, so to have two winners is great.” Boisnard added of Lucky Team: “He is very good looking and very talented. I was expecting him to run well but he has gone and broke the course record.

“If he was as good on the turf as he was on the all-weather, he would be a superstar.” Earlier, City Light had powered home to claim top honours in the 6f All-Weather Sprint. Trained in France by Stephane Wattel, he raced wide throughout under Bachelot, who cut a confident figure in the saddle. Kachy, the favourite, kicked for home from the final bend, but City Light always had him in his sights and displayed a superior finishing kick to get up and score by a length and a half under his jubilant rider. Bachelot said: “He really likes the strong pace and over 6f he is very good. “He jumped well and I had a very good spot behind the favourite, Kachy so I sat perfect on the corners behind him.” Wattel added: “There is a lot of emotion, enjoyment and pleasure to win this race.

It is not the first time I have had a runner in England but it is my first winner. It is a very big moment in my career.” Starting the French ball rolling, Funny Kid lunged late to claim a last gasp victory in a thrilling renewal of the All-Weather Marathon over two miles. Trained by Christophe Ferland, the 5yo was positioned in midfield for much of the journey by a confident Maxime Guyon. Last year’s runner-up Watersmeet cut out the running and briefly looked to have cut loose after straightening up for home. However, the closing pack began to make inroads deep inside the final furlong and no sooner had Lord George hit the front with the post looming large, Funny Kid picked them both off.

After a brief wait the judge confirmed Guyon’s mount had gained the day by a nose from Lord George, with the admirable Watersmeet just a neck further back in third. Guyon said: “I had the perfect trip behind the second, Lord George. The pace was not very fast but that was perfect for me because he has a good turn of foot. “He was a little bit fresh, which was why he was so keen early. When he ran the first time in England, at Wolverhampton, he ran OK but the pace was faster than today. “Last time I thought I was going to win but I stopped a little bit, but today we win the big race so it’s perfect. I rode at Lingfield last year but this is my first winner so I’m very happy.” Ferland added: “The pace suited him, he had a good lead and then he was able to kick on.

He has a good turn of foot. Last time at Wolverhampton he was a little bit fresh, not fit enough and the race quickened too early for him. “Today he was 200% to really fight. He’s a fantastic horse with a fantastic turn of foot and we very much hope there is more to come. I was more confident than last time. Maxime is my stable jockey and I don’t have to give him instructions. We’ll keep going with him where the ground is good. He might come back to England.” In the official feature, Victory Bond stamped his class on the 1m2f Easter Classic with James Doyle, who was catching a plane to Dubai to ride at Meydan after racing, in the saddle.

The William Haggas-trained gelding was the joint favourite to get back on the winning trail, after filling the runner-up spot behind the reopposing Utmost in the Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance in early February. Utmost and Star Archer took the field along for much of the way, but Victory Bond arrived on the scene travelling ominously well over a furlong out and never looked in serious danger of being caught. Winter Derby winner Master The World found top gear late on, but it was all too late and he had to make do with a closing second. Doyle said: “I think that was a career best. We’re just learning a bit about him, that was pretty good and he showed what he could do.

William’s horses are in fantastic shape and this was his main target for the winter.” Haggas and Doyle were completing a double following the earlier victory of Diagnostic in the 7f All-Weather Fillies’ & Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes. The striking grey rewarded favourite backers with a comprehensive success having racked up a Chelmsford hat-trick within the space of a few weeks last autumn and although she had been narrowly beaten into third on each of her two starts since the turn of the year, she headed the market for this contest. James Doyle’s mount was never too far off the pace being set by Titan Goddess and quickened up well to beat Carolinae fairly readily by a length. Doyle said: “She had a look at the screen on the way down but we eventually made it there to the start.

I predicted a strong pace but we needed different tactics. Once we were out of the stalls all options were open and she relaxed really well.” Corinthia Knight won an eventful renewal of the 6f conditions stakes for 3yos to give rising training star Archie Watson a significant success on finals’ day. Sent off favourite on the back of three victories, the consistent Corinthia Knight was positioned on the heels of leader Helvetian and perfectly placed to strike under Oisin Murphy. Murphy said: “I was always going to win. He was the best horse in the race and I just didn’t want to mess it up. I kept it simple.” The £150,000 contest is the most valuable race won by Watson, who saddled 56 winners last year during his first full campaign as a trainer. The meeting opened with a 7f handicap for apprentice jockeys in which Adam McNamara performed the steering aboard Take The Helm to land the spoils for Brian Meehan.

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05 Apr 2018
Issue Number: Issue 643
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