Team Talk and Lord Of The Land booked their tickets for All-Weather Championships Finals Day with impressive Fast-Track Qualifier victories at Lingfield Park on Saturday, November 12.
Team Talk showed a brilliant turn of foot to capture the 10-furlong £45,000 Listed Betway Churchill Stakes (2.00pm) and receive a free and automatic place in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the same course and distance on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.
Making only his third start, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained three-year-old was anchored at the rear of the 10 runners by Sean Levey and still had the vast majority of the field in front of him entering the straight.
Team Talk, sent off the 6/1 second favourite, ran on strongly to collar Educate (Ismail Mohammed/James Doyle, 9/1) in the dying strides to prevail by half a length, with the same margin back to Master Of The World (David Elsworth/Shane Kelly, 14/1). His time was 2m 2.56s.
Sean Levey said: “Team Talk was incredibly impressive today. I thought that I had a lot to do turning in – I was a bit out of my ground – and they didn’t go overly quick either. I thought that he was going to change gear and really knuckle down to get them.
“When I asked for an effort, he picked up really well. They weren’t stopping and coming back to us in front and I knew he had to show a turn of foot to pick them up.
“He has very little experience. He didn’t learn much first time out, when he won as he liked, and ran in good company in the Listed race at Newmarket. He probably learned a good bit from just being in that race. The step up to a mile and two furlongs really suited and he has done it well.
“I think that he will stay further. He was so settled and very professional going round there. I think he is one to look forward to.”
Last season’s All-Weather Horse of the Year Grendisar (Marco Botti/Adam Kirby), who was sent off evens favourite on his first start since capturing the All-Weather Middle Distance Championships in March, kept on to finish fourth.
Marco Botti commented: “Adam said that Grendisar was a bit rusty and was slightly checked in the last 100 yards as well. He wasn’t beaten far and is a big horse, so he will definitely come on quite a lot from this race.
“It took him a bit longer to hit top gear – usually he has an electric turn of foot – and that’s probably shown that he was a bit rusty. I am not too disappointed and we are looking forward to coming back here in December for the Quebec Stakes.”
Lord Of The Land claimed a free and automatic place in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships with a smooth victory for trainer David O’Meara in the six-furlong £40,000 Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes (12.50pm).
Danny Tudhope missed out on the ride on the progressive five-year-old due to illness but James Doyle proved a more than able deputy as the 2/1 favourite reeled in long-time leader Mythmaker (Bryan Smart/Connor Beasley, 16/1) with 50 yards to race before going away to score by three-quarters of a length in 1m 10.03s.
It was a third straight All-Weather victory for Lord Of The Land following handicap wins at Kempton Park and Lingfield Park, although Doyle dismounted the son of Shamardal on the course shortly afterwards.
Doyle reported: “Lord Of The Land has pulled up a bit sore. Obviously, the vets are having a look at him but he did look quite sore – I could feel it pulling up, so I popped off him and they got him back in the ambulance. We have done all we can to prevent anything more happening.
“I don’t think it will be career threatening. He just looked a little sore pulling up so the vets will have a look at it and tell David a bit more.
“He didn’t jump that quick but we managed to get a nice position behind Gracious John and he took us into the race nicely. I thought Mythmaker and Gracious John were the potential leaders but they have taken a sit before and, if I had jumped quickly, I would have been happy to stride on.
“He has won here over seven furlongs but they went solid enough and I wasn’t quick enough to lead, I took a sit and he travelled around good. I knew he would take a bit of pegging back once he got to the front.
“He is very consistent and that was his third win on the trot, so he is clearly a horse who was going in the right direction so let’s hope he gets back and recovers well. I am sure he has got a good campaign ahead of him.”
Connor Beasley, who partnered Mythmaker, said: “Mythmaker has probably just bumped into one today. He did nothing wrong – he set his sights and ran a big race. I don’t know what Mr Smart has planned for him now but he is entitled to have a good All-Weather campaign.”
My Target (Michael Wigham/Conor Beasley) looks set to contest some more of the big mile handicaps during the All-Weather Championships following a comfortable length victory in the £19,000 sunbets.co.uk Handicap (1.25pm). The 8/1 shot, receiving weight from all 11 of his rivals, ran on strongly to hit the front inside the final furlong and score in a quick time of 1m 35.18s.
Winning trainer Michael Wigham said: “My Target is a marvellous horse. Basically, they went hard and come from off the pace and won by a length. He is very genuine and that’s probably as good as he is. We have quite a few for the All-Weather and hopefully we will get a few more winners.”
Conor Beasley added: “My Target travelled away well. Mr Wigham said to get a lead and have them in your sights when I was turning in. He went about his job really well. I had a good pace to aim at and it helped him.”