Master The World and Gifted Master secured their places for next year’s All-Weather Championships Finals Day with impressive Fast-Track Qualifier wins on Polytrack at Lingfield Park today Saturday, November 18.
Six-year-old Master The World stormed to victory in the 10-furlong £40,000 Listed Betway Churchill Stakes (2.45pm, nine runners), to gain a free and automatic spot in the in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the same course and distance on Good Friday, March 30.
Sent off a 10/1 chance after finishing down the field in the November Handicap on turf at Doncaster on November 11, the David Elsworth-trained grey gelding ran on strongly after being held up by Sean Levey to hit the front inside the furlong readily went clear to prevail by a length and three-quarters in 2m 1.14s.
13/8 favourite Victory Bond (William Haggas/James Doyle) took second after enduring a troubled passage, with a further three-quarters of a length back to 50/1 outsider Mia Tesoro (Charlie Fellowes/Stevie Donohoe).
Elsworth said: “Master The World ran well in the November Handicap, which was a tough race.
“He runs consistently well at the highest level – I think he went a year without winning, but was getting beat by a couple of short-heads – and he is a tough old sort.
“Sean gave him positive ride and he is probably one of the more under-rated jockeys around. He rides very well and I am using him with increasing frequency.
“Good Friday is a distinct possibility. We went out to Dubai last year, but they used to quicken up from the front after going a slow gallop and he didn’t get into the races. He still ran well out there and we could go anywhere with him.
“He’s not a bad old boy and a G3 horse on his day.”
Levey added: “I rode Master The World at Doncaster and he gave me a hell of a time – I had to push him all the way round. Mind you, it was a big field that day and he knows what the game is about now.
“I was going to try and jump and race in the first four, but I was happy where I was. It opened up nicely – I didn’t really want to go as wide as I did, but it was getting a bit tight on the inside.
“He’s not the kind of horse that you can sit and wait again with and I got there plenty early enough but, once I had his mind made up and he was running for the line, I thought that I would be OK.
“He has good form with great horses and I would like to see him come back here. He obviously stays a mile and a quarter well and there will be plenty of options for him.”
Gifted Master (9/2), twice successful at G3 level on turf, was an emphatic winner of the six-furlong £37,000 Betway Golden Rose Stakes (3.15pm) to set up a tilt at the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships over the same course and distance on Good Friday.
The four-year-old, trained by Hugo Palmer and ridden by James Doyle, reeled in long-time leader Caspian Prince entering the final half-furlong and powered away from his rivals in the closing stages for a length and a half verdict over Mythmaker (8/1, Bryan Smart/Graham Lee) in 1m 9.68s.
Doyle said: “Gifted Master is very quick out of the gates. He has stayed a bit further so, although we were rattling along, I was kind of controlling the race a little bit from second. I knew that, once I had committed him off the bend, he would hit the line well. He is very tough and genuine.
“I was trying to restrain my horse and fill him up coming down the hill because we did a fair it of work to cross over from our draw . There were a couple of non-runners but I still felt that we had a pretty tough task out wide. I had the right horse under me and he has tremendous gate speed, which stood him in good stead.
“I am not sure how many times he has been round a bend but he did take a little bit of manoeuvring into the straight. That run will definitely help and he will be a lot wiser next time.”
Bruce Raymond, representing winning owner Dr Ali Ridha, commented: “We were a bit anxious from the outside gate, but Gifted Master is quick and he was certainly quick today.
“I thought he and Caspian Prince were going plenty fast enough but Gifted Master stays well – he gets seven furlongs although six is his best trip.
“I think we will come back for the big one on Good Friday now. We took him to Dubai last year, but he didn’t really enjoy things and it took a long time for him to get over it. He was a skinny horse, but now he is thriving and is a horse with a lot of scope.”
Elsewhere on the card, Arcanada (7/1) bounced back to form with a decisive victory under Richard Kingscote in the mile £19,000 sunbets.co.uk Handicap (2.10pm).
The Tom Dascombe-trained four-year-old, without a win since taking a valuable York handicap in August, 2016, and wearing cheek-pieces for the first time, stayed on strongly after taking up the running over a furlong from home to score by a length over 9/2 chance Sacred Act (Michael Bell/James Doyle).
Kingscote commented: “Arcanada is the sort of horse who likes to be up in the van. Once I jumped well, I was able to sit just off the leader and was very happy.
“He has not been himself this year and struggled a bit but, off his current mark, he has always run very strong and competitive races. I think going this way round on the All-Weather really helped.
“I guess it’s very possible that he will continue going over the winter. He has shown a liking for the All-Weather and is pretty good on his day.”