The Mark Johnston-trained grey Watersmeet was the decisive winner of tonight’s Fast-Track Qualifier on Polytrack at Chelmsford City, the £20,000 totepoolliveinfo.com Visit For Racing Results Conditions Stakes, and proved he stayed two miles.
Six-year-old Watersmeet gained a free and automatic place in the £150,000 Betway Marathon over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
The 5/2 second favourite, partnered by Joe Fanning, took the lead early on in the six-runner race, but then the hard-pulling Calvinist (Archie Watson/David Probert, 7/2) went on, closely followed by the 6/4 market leader Winning Story (Saeed bin Suroor/Oisin Murphy), who was also keen on the outside.
Watersmeet improved to second three and a half furlongs out, after Winning Story gained the advantage, before challenging over a furlong out.
He bumped and veered left across Winning Story when taking the lead soon after and ran on well to triumph by three lengths eased down in 3m 25.55s. Irish challenger Pique Sous (Willie Mullins IRE/Ryan Moore, 9/2) kept on to be third.
The stewards held an enquiry but left the placings unaltered and found no riding offence had occurred.
Watersmeet, already a winner twice this All-Weather Championships but over 12 and 14 furlongs, looked as though he was well suited by two miles.
Fanning said: “When he hit the front, Watersmeet lugged to the left a little bit but he has won very easily.
“He stayed the trip out well – he is a very straightforward horse to ride.
“I fancied going out and making the running today but Dave (Probert) and Oisin (Murphy) were going quick to the first bend so I just took a lead as I didn’t want to race them early on.
“You can drop him in or make the running. I would say that Good Friday is now the plan.”