An exciting field of nine goes to post for the first Fast-Track Qualifier of the new All-Weather Championships season, which gets underway at Newcastle tomorrow, Tuesday, October 24.
The winner of the six-furlong £25,000 32Red Casino Conditions Race (3.10pm) on Tapeta is guaranteed a start in the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships over the same distance on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30, 2018.
Tomorrow’s line-up features It Dont Come Easy (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan) and Lake Volta (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning), who were both placed in Listed races on their latest start.
It Dont Come Easy came second in the six-furlong Rockingham Stakes at York on October 14, while Lake Volta drops back a furlong after finishing third in the Star Appeal Stakes on Polytrack at Dundalk, Ireland, on October 6.
Lake Volta was also third in the Listed Ripon Two-Year-Old Trophy on turf in August and filled the same position behind Invincible Army in the G3 Sirenia Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton Park on September 9, both over six furlongs.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Yorkshire-based Mark, said today: “Lake Volta has run well in Listed and G3 company on his last three starts.
“I think the drop back down to six furlongs tomorrow will be a help to him, especially the stiff six at Newcastle, and when we had brief look through our team to find a horse to aim at this division, he looked a very suitable horse.
“Hopefully, he can get the automatic berth and then we can freshen him up for Finals Day.
“It looks a hot enough race tomorrow, but he is right up there in terms of the form on offer and his rating of 100 has been well earned.
“It Dont Come Easy was second behind a filly of ours, Rebel Assault, at York, so we have a bit of a line on him. I think Lake Volta has a very good chance and should go close.”
Beatbox Rhythm (Karl Burke/P J McDonald) is one of four last-time-out winners in the race, having returned to winning ways with a smooth display in a six-furlong nursery at York on October 13.
Encrypted (Hugo Palmer/Josephine Gordon) has won two of his six starts this year, with both victories coming on the All-Weather – in a six-furlong maiden at Kempton Park in June and last time out in a five-furlong nursery at Chelmsford City, also on Polytrack, in September.
The least exposed contender is Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Sarookh (Roger Varian/Jack Mitchell), who made short work of his rivals on his second outing in a six-furlong maiden at Kempton Park on September 27, powering clear to score by three lengths.
Yogi’s Girl (David Evans/Tom Eaves) is one of two fillies in the race. She finished fourth in a hotly-contested Listed contest at Newbury in August and was eighth in the G2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster last time out.
The line-up is completed by Redcar novice race victor Three Saints Bay (David O’Meara/Danny Tudhope), Shaya (Roger Fell/Tony Hamilton) and twice-raced maiden River Boyne (Gordon Elliott IRE/Robert Winston).
This is the first time that the All-Weather Championships has commenced at Newcastle rather than Lingfield Park.
Newcastle’s eight-race programme starts at 1.40pm and concludes at 5.10pm.