Hot 4/9 favourite Gracious John made all for a decisive victory in the £19,000 Watch Racing UK On 3 Devices Conditions Stakes, a Fast-Track Qualifier, on Polytrack at Kempton Park today, Sunday, January 17.
The three-year-old’s length and a half success over 3/1 chance Field Of Vision in the six-furlong contest means he gets a guaranteed free start in the £150,000 Unibet Three-Year-Old Sprint Championships over five furlongs at Lingfield Park, also on Polytrack, on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 25.
Gracious John, trained by David Evans and ridden John Egan, broke smartly and took the four-strong field along at a good pace and was asked to stretch for home with two furlongs remaining.
The Baltic King colt went clear and was not challenged by Field Of Vision (Joe Tuite/George Baker) who kept on to close the gap a bit by the line. The winning time was a fast 1m 10.93s.
Evans, who enjoyed a double on today’s Kempton Park card as 8/11 favourite Cartographic (Adam Kirby) took the first division of the 12-furlong racinguk.com/winterseasonticket Handicap, is aiming Gracious John at the Final.
The Welsh trainer said: “Gracious John will definitely go for the Final.
“There used to be no races for three-year-old sprinters but that is not the case now and the Final has great prize money.
“The Final is over five furlongs but I wouldn’t have thought that would make much difference – he is a fast horse.
“He has progressed steadily and is a big horse and there is a long time before the Final so he is likely to keep running.
“There is another Fast-Track Qualifier at Chelmsford on February 7 (the Totequadpot Conditions Stakes, 5f) which is worth £30,000 and will be his next target.”
Gracious John has now won five of his last six starts – two over six furlongs, one over nearly five and a half furlongs and two over five furlongs.
His stable companion Thatsallimsaying (Cathy Gannon, 201/) finished five lengths behind Field Of Vision in third, with Khameela (David Simcock/Pat Cosgrave, 10/1) fourth.