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Hollie Doyle blog: Fired up for five chances on Finals Day
Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle runs the rule over her five rides on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle on Good Friday, including a solid chance in the feature Easter Classic.
Angel can sprout wings in final
Whilst I consider Lingfield Park to be the ultimate test of any All-Weather horse, staging Finals Day at Newcastle for the first time is an interesting experiment. It’s a lovely fair track which has already proven a happy hunting ground for four of my five rides, including INTERNATIONALANGEL in the Coral All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes (3.45).
Jane Chapple-Hyam’s remarkable mare could be my best chance of the day and it would be quite a story if she could round off the season by taking this valuable prize.
The first of her five consecutive wins for Jane came off a rating of just 67 at Chelmsford City back in October and she’s now rated 100!
Since then, she has won a handicap over this seven-furlong trip, when she powered away from Mick Appleby’s useful Whittle Le Woods – twice a winner since and a contender for a good prize at Lingfield’s inaugural Vase meeting on Friday.
Internationalangel was never able to get competitive from a wide position in the Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton last month but can show herself in a much better light here. I rode her at home last week and am looking forward to partnering her in a race for the first time.
Looking for Fast-Track repeat on Cowboy
I won a Fast-Track Qualifier over Newcastle’s six furlongs on SPACE COWBOY who I’ll be reunited with in the Coral 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes (3.10).
I’ve ridden him in his work a few times in Newmarket and couldn’t be happier with him. His trainer Richard Spencer and owner Phil Cunningham have high hopes for a colt who has done really well physically over the winter.
I made the running to win that Qualifier back in October and he also won from the front for Kieran Shoemark at Wolverhampton before that, but he’s adaptable so I’ll be happy to take a lead if it works out that way as he’s uncomplicated and settles well.
Both El Caballo and My Dubawi, who are drawn close to me, like to get on with things so there should be plenty of pace on from the get-go. It’s going to be a serious test of his progress but hopefully, he can show the world what a nice prospect he is.
Don’t write off course winner Tempus
Mile contender TEMPUS gave me a lovely feel when he powered home from the front in a Fast-Track Qualifier for this Final at Newcastle in January on his first start for Archie Watson and Hambleton Racing, beating the useful Bless Him who has won since and takes us on again.
On the face of it, he appeared disappointing in another Qualifier at Southwell won by My Oberon but shouldn’t be judged on that. The new Tapeta track was riding too fast for him that day and he was never happy.
His latest start in a Listed race at Doncaster was much more like it. He finished a good second to Richard Hannon’s smart Chindit, who had 11lb in hand of us at the weights, and back on a track that plays to his strengths I expect him to out-run his odds in the All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes (2.00).
My Oberon is clearly the one we all have to beat. He’s the class horse in the race and acquitted himself well in the Group One Dubai Turf last month, finishing just behind me on Saffron Beach and little more than four lengths behind the dead-heaters Lord North and Panthalassa. He looks to be my husband Tom’s (Marquand) best chance of a winner.
Classic chance with Al Zarazaan
Hambleton Racing’s shareholders will no doubt be out in force to also cheer on AL ZARAQAAN in the richest race of the day, the ten-furlong Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships Conditions Stakes (4.45).
Like stable companion Tempus, he also won a Fast-Track Qualifier at this track in January, albeit under a different set of circumstances. He dominated a weak three-runner race that day but this will be much more competitive.
His latest run in the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton Park was really encouraging. Archie (Watson) put the blinkers on him for the first time and he ran on strongly to get within a nose of the winner Living Legend, who we take on again.
We had made the running with him in the Winter Derby Trial and the Winter Derby itself at Lingfield but that option went out of the window when he missed the break at Kempton, perhaps because of the headgear. As it happened he seemed to enjoy passing horses for Luke Morris so I’ll be happy to ride the race as I find it.
Roger Varian’s favourite Tyrrhenian Sea is difficult to assess as he’s lightly-raced and clearly open to any amount of improvement but Al Zaraqaan is a capable horse on his day and brings some solid form into the race, so fingers crossed.
Dream ride in Marathon final
It’s always a pleasure to be on board my old friend RAINBOW DREAMER who takes his chance in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes (4.15).
Alan King’s nine-year-old confirmed he still has what it takes when he beat one of his main rivals Earlofthecotswolds in a Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton in January, but puzzlingly ran well below form in a similar race at Kempton after that.
He’s never won at Newcastle in five attempts, but has run some nice races in defeat. He was second in another Fast-Track Qualifier there in December and I was fourth on him in the Group Three Sagaro Stakes when it was transferred from Ascot to Gosforth Park in 2020.
If he can run to that level of form he’ll have every chance in what looks a wide-open race.
Nazanin to put Classic credentials to the test
I’ve galloped my boss Imad Alsagar’s filly NAZANIN several times in preparation for her seasonal reappearance in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes – better known as the Fred Darling – at Newbury on Saturday (2.25).
I won the Group Three Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr on her back in September and this looks an ideal starting point. Archie (Watson) is happy with her progress and the step up to seven furlongs looks well within range, given the way she stayed on to win over a furlong shorter up in Scotland.
She may be a bit fresh, as fillies sometimes are after a break, but this is a starting point and we should learn something in respect of future targets. She holds an entry in the Irish 1,00 Guineas.
More to come from Charlton colt
I’ve also been pleased with CHEF DE PARTIE’S progress in his work at Harry and Roger Charlton’s so I’m hopeful off a nice re-appearance run from him in the second division of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes (4.45) at Newbury.
I rode him on debut in a Doncaster maiden that’s worked out well and this half-brother to Imad’s Group winner Extra Elusive looks a nice prospect who is entitled to be all the better for his second career start.