Lightly-raced Haalick came good in the £45,000 Listed 32Red Spring Cup at Lingfield Park today, Saturday, March 5 and gains a free and automatic place in the £150,000 32Red 3-Y-O Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at the same course on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 25.
Haalick, trained by Roger Varian in Newmarket and ridden by Jack Mitchell, was held up towards the rear of the 11 runners in the Fast-Track Qualifier.
Mitchell stuck close to the far rail and found a smooth run in the straight, with Haalick, a three-year-old Roderic Duncan colt, relishing the Polytrack surface and running on to lead inside the final furlong on his first start of 2016.
The 8/1 chance beat the fast-finishing filly Tutu Nguru (William Haggas/Pat Cosgrave, 14/1) by a length and a quarter in 1m 22.28s for the seven furlongs, with Jaadu (Mick Channon/John Egan, 20/1) a further length back in third.
Fourth home Race Day (Saeed bin Suroor/Oisin Murphy, 3/1) took the field along until headed at the distance and then went right, causing some interference to sixth Above N Beyond (Tom Dascombe/Richard Kingscote, 25/1) and 11th Adventurous (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning, 7/1).
There was another incident of interference in the straight when Jaadu and eighth Sea Of Flames (David Elsworth/Tom Queally, 6/1) squeezed out the 11/4 market leader Abe Lincoln (Jeremy Noseda/Jim Crowley) who was eased down and finished 10th.
Both incidents were deemed accidental by the Lingfield Park stewards and no action was taken.
Jack Mitchell commented: “Haalick has done it well in the end. I had a lovely run through and, luckily, the gaps appeared for me at the right time.
“There was a lot of jostling on the outside and, to be honest, I was being a bit brave going down the inside. Luckily, it opened up and he was good enough to take me through.
“Roger has his horses in great form and was very happy with this lad beforehand. Haalick has got the job done well – probably better than I thought he would.
“I wasn’t tied down to too many instructions beforehand. He was a little bit rusty early on but, once he warmed into his race, he did it well.
“I honestly wouldn’t know where he will go next but I would say winning one of those races means that you would have to have a little go at Good Friday.”
Haalick had three runs last year, all on turf and over seven furlongs, and made a winning debut at Haydock Park on July 3. He came second in a Doncaster Listed race on September 11 and finished last in a Newmarket Group Three 13 days later.