Convey, the 11/10 favourite, came through to win the most valuable race on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over 10 furlongs on Polytrack at Lingfield Park in convincing style.
The five-year-old gelding by Dansili, trained by Sir Michael Stoute at Newmarket for owner Robert Ng, went away under Ryan Moore from his eight rivals, scoring by a length and three quarters from 7/1 chance Absolute Blast in 2m 2.16s.
Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, racing manager to the owner, commented: “Convey has always been a horse with a lot of talent and he has improved for being gelded over the winter.
“It has helped him and he was impressive in the Winter Derby and was very good again today. He is now three from three on the All-Weather.
“We will see what Sir Michael and Robert Ng want to do with him now. The horse has been invited to the (Group One) Champions Mile on turf in Hong Kong on May 7 and there is a good chance he will go there.
“If he doesn’t go there, I am sure there will be plenty of races for him here, but Mr Ng never comes to see his horses race in Europe and, when you get an invite for a race like that, it is quite tempting to give it a go.
“The owner is an optimistic guy. We will see how the Champions Mile goes and take things from there.
“The gelding seems to have been the making of the horse. The talent has always been there, Sir Michael has always rated this horse highly and it looks like Convey is coming to himself; a slightly late maturer. He has not been over-raced.
“He won his first start on the All-Weather and is unbeaten on the surface. He took to the surface and Sir Michael had this race and the Winter Derby in mind early on.
“It is great to win a race like this – I just had Mr Ng on the phone from Hong Kong. It is about 2am in Hong Kong now but he stayed up to listen to the race. He is really excited. He knows how much it means – he has had horses in training in Europe for a long time.”
Convey takes the title of All-Weather Horse Of The Year 2016/17.
MOORE CONVEYS CONFIDENCE IN CONVEY
The Robert Ng-owned and Sir Michael Stoute-trained Convey conveyed every reason for confidence in his upcoming turf campaign this year. Sent off the 11/10 favourite he justified the market’s confidence coming home one-and-three-quarter lengths to the good in the final race of the day, the Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships.
Ryan Moore, who rode the Dansili gelding, commented after the race: “It was fairly straightforward. Convey started well and there wasn’t much pace early until Paul [Hanagan] went along. We were in a nice spot, although I would have liked some horses to bring me into the race for a bit longer.
“Things have not always been straightforward for him, but he has grown up and really enjoys racing on this surface. He had very good form at times last year and had too much class for them today.
“He ran very well over seven [furlongs] at Haydock Park last year so I am not sure gelding [in November 2016] has made a huge difference to him. People were being a bit harsh last year, but his form was very solid, he didn’t run too many bad races.
“Hopefully, he will run in top class races on the turf this year.”
Asked what it represented to him to win the big race of the day for Stoute, Moore replied: “What ever the seven per cent is!”
4.40pm £200,000 Betway Easter Classic, 1m 2f
1 CONVEY 5 9-05 Robert Ng Sir Michael Stoute Ryan Moore 11/10 Fav
2 ABSOLUTE BLAST (IRE) 5 9-00 K Sohi Archie Watson Luke Morris 7/1
3 ALLEZ HENRI (IRE) 6 9-05 Ascot Club D & P Prod’homme FR Aurelien Lemaitre 25/1
Distances: 1¾, ½
Tote Win: £2.00 Places:£1.10; £2.00,£4.30 Exacta: £9.10
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd
Breeding: b g Dansili – Insinuate (USA) (Mr Prospector (USA))
Connections delighted with second-placed Absolute Blast
The five-year-old mare Absolute Blast (7/1) kept the girls in the picture with a fine second in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships, a length and three-quarters behind race favourite Convey (11/10f).
“The winner is a very good horse and he nicked a couple of lengths from me and I couldn’t quicken with him, but she is a very good mare. Hopefully, we’ll be able to nick a Group 3 with Absolute Blast once we run on the Turf,” said second-placed jockey Luke Morris.
Absolute Blast is trained by young Lambourn-based trainer Archie Watson, still in his first year with a trainer’s licence.
“We are delighted with Absolute Blast. The winner is a very good horse and she is running against the boys. Her draw in nine didn’t help, but I think if we’d had a better position, it would only have made the difference of finishing a half-length closer.
“She’ll have a little break now with a couple of weeks on the easy, and we’ll aim towards Epsom for the Princess Margaret Stakes,” reported Watson.
Allez Henri responds as Elbereth improves
Allez Henri, a 25/1 shot, responded well when asked to, leading to a third-place finish, said his jockey Aurelien Lemaitre.
Lemaitre said: “He jumped off a little bit slow, a bit soft. He was a bit tight around the first bend. He was very relaxed throughout the race, responded well when asked to, and finished well.”
The trainer of Elbereth, the 12/1 chance fourth-placed horse, Andrew Balding said: “We are delighted with the run. It is not really her track, she probably wants a more galloping track, but she’s stuck to her guns and she’s improving all the time. She’s a tough filly. We’ve lots of options ahead of us.”