The fifth season of the All-Weather Championships begins at Newcastle on Tuesday, October 24, when the highlight is the £25,000 32Red Casino Conditions Race (3.40pm, 14 entries).
The six-furlong Tapeta contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships over the same distance at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 30, 2018.
Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer is looking forward to running Encrypted as the two-year-old Showcasing colt prepares to defend his 100 per cent record on the All-Weather.
Carrying the colours of Khalid Abdullah, Encrypted was the clear-cut winner of a six-furlong maiden at Kempton Park in June (pictured) and bounced back to form from a couple of disappointing efforts when taking a five-furlong nursery in decisive fashion at Chelmsford City on September 21, both on Polytrack.
In between those two successes, accomplished with Josephine Gordon in the saddle, Encrypted was beaten three times on turf, including when finishing down the field in both the G3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood and the Listed Roses Stakes at York.
Palmer said today: “We are very happy with Encrypted. His form on the All-Weather so far is very much better than it is on turf, and this Fast-Track Qualifier has been the plan for a while.
“Encrypted is clearly talented and you can see we think that from the grade of races we have run him in on the turf.
“He has shown us plenty at home, and he has looked pretty good on the All-Weather. He is still not quite the finished product and I think he will keep on improving.
“The three-year-old race on Good Friday is our obvious dream, but he has been on the go all season and, in an ideal world, we would like to give him a winter break. It would be fantastic to win the Fast-Track Qualifier on Tuesday, but if he can’t win this one, we will try to win the next one.
“I think he could be pretty exciting for the All-Weather Championships season.”
Among Encrypted’s potential rivals is Lake Volta who was third in the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park in September before filling the same position in the Listed Star Appeal Stakes on Polytrack at Dundalk, Ireland, on October 7. Lake Volta’s trainer Mark Johnston has also entered dual scorer Prestbury Park and Viscount Loftus.
It Dont Come Easy (Richard Fahey) is top-rated on 101 following his good second in the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York on October 14. He finished fifth in the G2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the campaign.
Trainer Roger Varian and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum could be represented by Sarookh who caught the eye on his second start when running away with a six-furlong maiden at Kempton Park on September 27.
Beatbox Rhythm could turn out quickly for in-form trainer Karl Burke, having returned to winning ways with a smooth display in a six-furlong nursery at York on October 13.
The unknown quantity is Qatar Racing Limited’s unraced colt Raid (David Simcock). The son of promising first season sire Havana Gold is a half-brother to the 2015/16 All-Weather Championships Horse of the Year Grendisar.
This is the first time that the All-Weather Championships has commenced at Newcastle rather than Lingfield Park.
Newcastle’s seven-race programme on Tuesday starts at 2.10pm and concludes at 5.10pm.