Second Thought completed a hat-trick of All-Weather victories when flying home to take the £45,000 Listed 32Red Spring Cup (4.20pm) over seven furlongs on Polytrack at Lingfield Park today Saturday, March 4.
The William Haggas-trained three-year-old colt, a maiden winner on Tapeta at Wolverhampton in December, secured his place in the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old Final on Good Friday, April 14, with a neck success over Sutter County in a six-furlong Polytrack Fast-Track Qualifier at Kempton Park on January 17.
Sent off the 13/8 favourite following his Kempton Park success, the Robert Winston-ridden Second Thought tracked the leaders in fifth of the nine runners before unleashing a powerful turn of foot in the straight, collaring Sutter County (4/1, Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning) again in the closing stages to score cosily by three quarters of a length in a fast time 1m 22.10s. There was a further two and a quarter lengths to the third home Volatile (4/1, James Tate/Martin Harley).
Harry Eustace, assistant trainer to William Haggas, said: “Robert said that they steadied up and kicked down the hill, which got Second Thought at it a little bit before he came back on the bridle. He had a bit of ground to make up on Sutter County again and their form seems to be holding up.
“We will let William decide whether he comes back for Good Friday and see how he comes out of this race.
“We think he probably has the class to do it, but there might be other targets for him later in the year. For the prize money, it might be worth dropping back to six furlongs and having a crack at it.
“Second Thought seemed to relax really well and, as long as he does that, I think that he will stretch out to a mile. I would say fast ground on turf will suit him, so he could be a really fun horse to have during the summer.”
Winston commented: “Second Thought was off the bridle coming down the hill and was only getting on top of things late on.
“Six furlongs might be a bit sharp for him on Good Friday but I think that he will still come out on top in a strongly-run race.
“Once you get serious with him, he responds well, and he is more than likely to get a mile. He is a lightly-raced horse and very progressive.
“He has the right attitude and is very professional – once I gave him a couple of smacks, he went and did his job.”
My Target continued his exceptional record at Lingfield Pink this All-Weather Championships as he recorded a fourth consecutive course victory over a mile in the 10-runner £19,000 sunbets.co.uk Handicap (2.35pm) to set up a tilt at the £150,000 Sunbets Mile Final on Good Friday.
The Michael Wigham-trained top-weight, sent off 11/4 favourite following his latest win on February 11, quickened impressively from the rear under Connor Beasley for a half-length success over 16/1 shot Franco’s Secret (Peter Hedger/Tom Marquand) in 1m 36.05s.
Wigham commented: “My Target has now won five class 2 races and is a much improved horse throughout the winter. He won off a mark of 102 today and will go for the mile race on Finals Day now.
“He previously had one or two problems with his feet that we needed to overcome, which doesn’t happen overnight. Feet are not easy to deal with but we have got it right now and we have a very good farrier.
“He will run well on Good Friday. We don’t know what we are going to mean – obviously, there will be other 100-plus handicappers there. We will be somewhere in the winner’s enclosure – I hope it is in first place!”
Connor Beasley added: “My Target travelled away nicely. They went a nice gallop and he picked up the pieces well. He is a nice horse, likes it here and it all worked out well again.”
Robert Cowell’s red-hot form continued as the Newmarket handler gained a fourth straight win in the space of four days with 5/2 joint-favourite Encore D’Or, who got up in the shadow of the post under Luke Morris to score by a head in the five-furlong £19,000 Betway Handicap (3.45pm).
The five-year-old’s winning time of 56.80s was 0.13 second slower than Ladies Are Forever’s course record.
Co-owner Tom Morley said: “I don’t think that Lingfield would be his track – he’s a big horse and he didn’t really handle it here earlier in the season. I suspect that we might see some cheekpieces on him at some point as he is little bit soft.
“It takes him a while to get rolling and it looked like he was going to hang in but a beautiful ride by Luke put him in front on the line. I would think that fast ground on a straight turf track will suit him.
“The way he runs, you sometimes think that he will get six furlongs but I am not convinced that he will. I think five furlongs is his trip and the way the races are run has thrown the idea of going six furlongs forward. I don’t know whether he will come back for Finals Day because of the course and distance.”
Luke Morris commented: “Encore D’Or is a lovely big horse and, looking at the size of him, this track is not ideal for him. Once he got up and going through the gears, he put the race to bed nicely in the end.”