As is now becoming tradition, Good Friday sees the culmination of the year’s All-Weather Championships series. There is an excellent seven race card to look forward to as the stars of the all-weather season lock horns at Lingfield Park. Often the pick of the bunch for us is the Sprint Championship.
AW Sprint Championships Past Winners
|2021||Summerghand||6/1||David O'Meara||Adam Kirby|
|2019||Kachy||4/9||Tom Dascombe||Richard Kingscote|
|2018||City Light||8/1||Stephane Wattel||Theo Bachelot|
|2017||Kimberella||4/1||Richard Fahey||Paul Hanagan|
|2016||Alben Star||7/1||Richard Fahey||David Nolan|
|2015||Pretend||6/5||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2014||Alben Star||25/1||Richard Fahey||Paul Hanagan|
About the All-Weather Sprint Championships: The Six Furlong Showcase
Horse racing is a sport with a proud history stretching back to the 1700s, if not even earlier. Many of the biggest races of both the National Hunt and flat racing seasons were first held hundreds of years ago but it’s also a sport which never stands still. New races and meetings are being added all the time and one of the most important innovations of recent years is the improvement of all-weather racing.
Racing on the all-weather surfaces allows high quality performers on the flat to perform all year round. It’s also provided a platform for other horses who have been turned into all-weather specialists by their trainers. A combination of both sorts of those horses compete in the All-Weather Championships which were introduced in 2013.
The championships run throughout the year and comprise seven different divisions. It’s the sprint division which is arguably the most exciting of those. It’s open to four-year-olds and above and comprises a number of races during an extended qualifying period for the All-Weather Sprint Championship itself.
A Big Prize for a Quality Contest
The All-Weather Championships were the brainchild of Arena Racing Company. They operate four of the six all-weather racecourses in Britain and came up with the championships as a way of exciting fans and getting higher quality horses to compete.
UK All-Weather Racecourses
|Kempton Park||Polytrack||The Jockey Club|
|Lingfield Park||Polytrack||Arena Racing|
The big pull for the Championships is the final day of action held at Lingfield Park on Good Friday. In order for a horse to qualify for a place in the 6 furlong Sprint Championship they must either have made at least three all-weather appearances during the qualifying period that begins in October and have a high enough official rating or win one of the four Fast Track Qualifiers.
The qualifying criteria is tough enough to ensure that only horses who deserve to make it through to the All Weather Sprint Championship make the grade, whilst the £1 million total prize pool split up between all the championship races is more than enough to tempt trainers to enter some of their best sprinters. That has combined to create an excellent championship with a fitting final that’s become an instant classic.
Low Draw is Key
The All-Weather Sprint Championship is a young race but we’ve had enough renewals to be able to work out some trends. It’s already clear that Richard Fahey has got an early handle on the race as he trained three of the first five winners. Favouring Irish-bred horses and those who have performed at Lingfield before, the most important thing to consider is the draw.
Lingfield is not a track that tends to produce much of a draw bias over the longer trips but it’s different with the sprints. Those given a lower draw (ideally less than stall six) have a much better record than those drawn high. That’s a fact the bookies are well aware of and so is often reflected in the price but it might be worth having a bet on a less fancied horse if they are well drawn.