All-Weather Championships Media Release Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - Venturous and Bless Him take Fast-Track Qualifiers at Newcastle
Venturous (David Barron/Tom Marquand) justified 9/4 favouritism in the Betway Conditions Stakes (5f) and is now guaranteed a start in the six-furlong Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Front runner Ornate (David Griffiths/Phil Dennis) had a healthy advantage approaching the final furlong but Venturous quickened smartly out of the chasing pack to wear him down close home.
The margin of victory was a length and a half, with Tawny Port (Stuart Williams/Ben Curtis) a length further back in third.
Venturous is in the form of his life as an eight-year-old, with this success coming on the back of handicap victories at Doncaster, Newcastle and Wolverhampton in the latter stages of 2020.
Tom Marquand said:
“Venturous has done it extremely well.
“Ornate is not a bad old horse himself and he takes a bit of getting back once he has worked up that lead, but this lad never really gave me a moment’s doubt. I found myself going down to the furlong pole thinking that I don’t want to take him off the bridle too soon.
“Whatever has clicked in him I am not sure, but David has obviously done a great job bringing him to fore at this age. He is improving and given he is now in for Good Friday, hopefully he can continue in this vein of form.
“To be honest, six furlongs at Lingfield could almost be comparable to five furlongs up here, being that this is a stiff straight track and you don’t get the chance for a breather whereas at Lingfield he will do.
“I guess on Good Friday you hope they go a good gallop as there is usually plenty of speed horses in there. He would need things to fall his way but if he continues on the trend that he is following at the moment, he should be on for a big run.”
Jamie Spencer produced a classy waiting ride on Bless Him in the following Bombardier Conditions Stakes (1m) and David Simcock’s charge is now assured a starting berth in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship on Finals Day.
Bless Him travelled eye-catchingly in last place and moved on to the tail of the improving Count Of Amazonia (Marco Botti/Ben Curtis) with two furlongs to race.
The pair kicked away from the rest of the field thereafter and it was Bless Him who found most on the run to the line, edging clear under hands and heels to score by a half-length.
The 5/4 favourite Ummalnar (William Haggas/Tom Marquand) was a big disappointment, trailing home last of the five runners having cut out much of the running.
This was Bless Him’s first success since September 2019, when he defeated subsequent G1 scorer Lord North in a mile handicap at Ascot.
He also showed a high level of form as a three-year-old when landing the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.
Jamie Spencer said:
“Bless Him did it well. I nursed him into the race and he had just enough in reserve to run them down late on.
“I thought he would need the run, especially as the track is riding quite deep which makes it quite demanding.
“He is moving really well at the moment; he is a horse that David has to be careful with. He only runs a handful times a year and it is good to get him to win on his first start because he generally improves a good bit for a run. “He should have a good season even though he is a seven-year-old now. There is still plenty of life in him.”
Bless Him (hood)
About the All-Weather Championships
Season eight of the All-Weather Championships runs from Tuesday, October 20, 2020 and culminates with All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 at Lingfield Park.
The six championship categories are:
Three-Year-Olds sponsored by Ladbrokes - 6f Final
Fillies & Mares sponsored by Ladbrokes - 7f Final
Mile sponsored by Bombardier - 1m Final
Sprint sponsored by Betway - 6f Final
Marathon sponsored by Betway - 2m Final
Middle Distance sponsored Betway - 10f Final
There are two ways for horses to qualify for one of the finals on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park:
* A horse can win a 'Fast Track Qualifier' race which will ensure a FREE and GUARANTEED place in the corresponding final on Good Friday. There are four Fast Track Qualifiers in each of the six Championship Categories hosted at racecourses in Great Britain, Ireland and France. If a filly wins any of the Fast-Track Qualifier races for either the Sprint or the Mile categories, the filly will be qualified for the final of that specific category, or for the Fillies and Mares Final.
* A horse must run a minimum of three times on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland and France; or twice on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland, France and once on dirt in Dubai during the qualifying period between October 20, 2020 and the six-day entry stage for the finals (Saturday, March 28, 2021) and then be rated high enough to 'make the cut' in a final by order of its BHA Rating.
In addition, prizes will be awarded to each of the All-Weather Champions - the 'All Stars' - based on the number of winners at the end of the All-Weather Championships season:
Champion All-Weather Jockey (winner and runner up)
Champion All-Weather Apprentice Jockey (winner and runner up)
Champion All-Weather Trainer
Champion All-Weather Owner
Winning Most All-Weather Horse
For details of the 24 Fast-Track Qualifiers, please click here: https://www.awchampionships.co.uk/take-part/fast-track-qualifier-dates/ Fast-Track Qualifier winners so far:
1 - 3YO, October 20, Newcastle, 6f, SIGNFICANTLY (Karl Burke/Clifford Lee)
2 - F&M, October 29, Lingfield Park, 1m, INDIE ANGEL (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori)
3 - F&M, November 13, Dundalk (IRE), 1m, UMMALNAR (William Haggas/Chris Hayes)
4 - MD, November 14, Lingfield Park, 1m 2f, DUBAI WARRIOR (John Gosden/Robert Havlin)
5 - SPRINT, November 14, Lingfield Park, 6f, GOOD EFFORT (Ismail Mohammed/Ray Dawson)
6 - MILE, November 18, Kempton Park, 1m, KINROSS (Ralph Beckett/Richard Kingscote)
7 - MD, November 25, Deauville (FR), 1m 1½f, SKY POWER (Gael Barbedette/Stephane Pasquier)
8 - 3YO, December 5, Wolverhampton, 6f, VICTORY HEIGHTS (James Tate/PJ McDonald)
9 - MA, December 12, Newcastle, 2m 56y, ISLAND BRAVE (Heather Main/Cieren Fallon)
10 - F&M, January 4, Wolverhampton, 7f, AMNIARIX (Ed Walker/Richard Kingscote)
11 - SPRINT, January 12, Newcastle, 5f, VENTUROUS (David Barron/Tom Marquand)
12 - MILE, January 12, Newcastle, 1m, BLESS HIM (David Simcock/Jamie Spencer)
For more information on the All-Weather Championships, please visit www.awchampionships.co.uk