Trainer William Muir is looking forward to seeing Big Baz (pictured) return to Lingfield Park tomorrow, Good Friday, March 25, for the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships (3.15pm) on Polytrack.
The six-year-old son of Pivotal finished seventh in this contest on All-Weather Championships Finals Day last year, when he was drawn in stall 11 and met trouble in running.
After getting up near the line to take the Listed Ben Marshall Stakes on turf at Newmarket in October, Big Baz returned to Polytrack and gained a decisive win in the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park in November.
His rivals in that Kempton Park Fast-Track Qualifier included Very Special, who has subsequently scored twice at Group Two level in Dubai, Irish Group Three winner Sovereign Debt and multiple Group One victor Gordon Lord Byron.
Big Baz, a 10/1 chance with Ladbrokes for tomorrow’s race, has since made three appearances on turf at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, headed by a length second in the nine-furlong Listed Singspiel Stakes on January 14.
He trailed home last in the Group Two Al Rashidiya over the same distance on January 28, but ran better to finish sixth on his most recent appearance in the Group Two Zabeel Mile on February 25.
Muir, who trains in Lambourn, commented: “Big Baz did quite well out in Dubai. We headed out there after winning back-to-back Listed races in the UK and he ran a great race on his first start there, which was 10 days after he got off the plane.
“I thought that the nine furlongs stretched him that day. He was in front with half a furlong to go and the winner just got us. The first three were clear of the rest of the field, so it was a really good run.
“We backed him up quickly in the Al Rashidiya. I had in the back of my mind that he could bounce on his second run out there but he did more than bounce – he ran terribly.
“We had him checked out but couldn’t find anything wrong, so we just put a line through the run and went on to Zabeel Mile, in which he ran another really good race. Martin Dwyer (the jockey) said that Big Baz backed off in the early part of the race like something was wrong but then his confidence picked up and he flew down the inside rail.
“He wasn’t beaten far in the Zabeel Mile and Martin said afterwards that, if he had been drawn better and Big Baz hadn’t backed off early on, we would have been fourth or closer.
“He has come home and has been bouncing. We know that he likes Lingfield and he has got a much better draw in stall two compared to last year.
“I don’t think we saw the best of him in Dubai and, if he shows the form he is showing at home, then I think he could run a really big race tomorrow.”
Mindurownbusiness (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley), who has won three of his four starts during this season’s All-Weather Championships, is 15/8 favourite with Ladbrokes for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile ahead of 11/4 chance Sovereign Debt (David Nicholls/Andrea Atzeni).
The race is also includes the three other Fast-Track Qualifier winners – Mister Universe (6/1, Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning), Captain Cat (7/1, Roger Charlton/George Baker) and Captain Joy (10/1, Tracey Collins IRE/Pat Smullen).
Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile – Ladbrokes prices:
15/8 Mindurownbusiness; 11/4 Sovereign Debt; 6/1 Mister Universe; 7/1 Captain Cat; 10/1 Big Baz, Captain Joy; 20/1 Lunar Deity; 33/1 Jammy Guest, Si Senor; 40/1 Arnold Lane, Seanie; 66/1 Forceful Appeal
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3
Lingfield Park hosts seven great races on Good Friday for the climax of the All-Weather Championships, with prize money of £1.1 million on offer.
Along with the bet365 Good Friday racecard at Wolverhampton Racecourse, which is worth £156,000, March 25 looks set to be the best day of All-Weather Racing ever hosted in Great Britain.