Race Day posted a brave front-running success in the £14,000 32Red Conditions Stakes (12.50pm) at Lingfield Park on Saturday, November 21, to qualify for the £150,000 32Red All-Weather 3-Y-O Mile Championships Conditions Stakes on March 25.
The Godolphin colt could now try and emulate Four Seasons, who won the seven-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier for Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation last year and went on to capture the Good Friday highlight.
Sent off a 5/1 chance, Race Day made all of the running under James Doyle, gamely repelling all challenges in the straight to beat 2/1 favourite Special Season (William Haggas/Pat Cosgrave) by half a length in a time of 1m 23.05s.
It was a third straight victory on the Polytrack at Lingfield Park for the Saeed bin Suroor-trained juvenile, who had previously taken a seven-furlong maiden on October 29 and a mile conditions race on November 14 (pictured).
James Doyle commented: “Race Day is a bit of a cheeky playboy but has really knuckled down for his last three races and is learning his trade nicely.
“He was all over the place on his first three runs, hanging into the rails, but has kept on improving since his first win here.
“I always felt coming off the turn that he would keep going. We went a hell of a pace all of the way but we wanted to draw the sting out of the rest of the field because he won over a mile last time and all he does is gallop.
“He seems to be much more straightforward in front, doing his own his own thing, and he doesn’t over-race. He was in front with his ears pricked and wasn’t losing any energy.
“Looking through the race beforehand, it was much tougher compared to last week. I thought that we would be up against it but he has surprised me. We put cheek-pieces on him to help him focus and they seemed to have helped as well.
“He has qualified now, so it is job done.”
Maureen Haggas, wife of Special Season’s trainer William, said: “Special Season has run a nice race and was beaten by a horse who is obviously improving.
“He looks well and is in good shape. I am not sure what William’s plans are but it would be nice to get him qualified for Good Friday. The Finals Day race is over a mile, which will probably suit him better than the seven furlongs today.
“He handled everything well today and Good Friday is a nice option to have. William will have to talk to the owner (Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum) and his racing manager Bruce Raymond but, looking at him today, there is no reason not to carry on and get him qualified.”
Abe Lincoln (Jeremy Noseda/Jim Crowley), a 7/2 shot, finished strongly from the rear of the six runners to finish third, beaten three-quarters of a length in total.
Jeremy Noseda commented: “Things could have worked out better for Abe Lincoln today. We will have a look at when the other Fast-Track Qualifiers are but he’s a nice horse with a future and we won’t keep going through the winter just to get three runs into him. We will see what happens.”