Varian Milers primed for All-Weather glory
Harry Preston | March 21, 2016
Friday’s All-Weather Finals sees the return of some very in-form horses to Lingfield, not least in the 3 Year Old Mile Championship Conditions Stakes, where Haalick is well-fancied at the top of the market.
Roger Varian also saddles the progressive Mindurownbusiness in the AW Mile Championship Conditions Stakes, where 15 are entered for the valuable prize. The Newmarket handler looks to have all the aces in both mile contests as both have the scope to step up on their already impressive form.
In the AW Mile Final, Mindurownbusiness heads the betting at 2/1 for Varian after quickening well to win at Wolverhampton last month.
Despite finishing a tailed off ninth in this race last year, the five-year-old has shot up the ratings to become a 111-rated miler and still seems to be on the upgrade. The Mike Spence-owned Colt is unbeaten over a mile this season, winning each race with a degree of ease and, if provided with a handy draw, should have the better of these.
Only two rivals are rated higher and come in the form of globe-trotting Big Baz (10/1) and recent runner-up Sovereign Debt (10/3). Big Baz’s last couple of runs in Meydan have been disappointing, however, as William Muir’s charge won a very hot race at Kempton with Sovereign Debt three lengths back in fourth.
If he can reproduce that form here on his British reappearance he would be a serious threat to the favourite. Sovereign Debt, on the other hand, ran Mister Universe to a nose at Wolverhampton when returning from a four-month lay-off. The extra furlong will suit David Nicholls’ miler, and that recent run should have the seven-year-old primed for another tilt at this prize, having only failed by a neck last year.
Mark Johnston’s Colt, Mister Universe, is a respected 6/1 shot after taking to the All-Weather extremely well with two wins from two. The relatively unexposed four-year-old has the potential to clock up a three-timer, however, it will need to be prominently ridden. Captain Cat (8/1) makes up the market principles having beaten a well-backed favourite last time out at Kempton and should be played late under George Baker.
Seasoned All-Weather sprinters such as Chookie Royale (20/1) and Jammy Guest (33/1) have got each way claims if seeing out the trip, but it is hard to see the likes of Seanie and Forceful Appeal getting involved.
Win Bet – Mindurownbusiness
Each-way – Big Baz
3 Year Old Mile Championships
In the 3 Year Old Mile Championships the Sheikh Al Maktoum owned colt, Haalick (15/8), showed a lot of promise earlier this month by setting blistering sectionals when romping home in the Fast-Track Qualifier, with reappearing Race Day (4/1) back in fourth. With Andrea Atzeni taking over the reins, and a strong pace guaranteed, this hold-up horse looks to have a great chance.
Special Season (7/2) was disappointing last time when a beaten odds-on shot, however, it is clear he has form to be competitive here. William Haggas’ colt hung right badly and a more disciplined run here would see him in the mix.
However, I think it could be Mark Johnston’s duo that look the likeliest threat to Haalick. Cape Speed (6/1) has won his last three races in decisive fashion and the 2000 Guineas entry still remains unexposed.
Johnston’s other runner, Turbine, impressively beat some talented rivals on debut before being defeated by Race Day on just his second start. It could be worth siding with the talented Cape Cross colt in what represents a bit of each way value at 16/1. Also running at a price is Sea of Flames (14/1), who also ran in the qualifier that Haalick won. However, he didn’t get a clear run so it would be no surprise to see Elsworth’s charge post a better effort this time.
Win Bet – Haalick
Each-way – Turbine