Top commentator Simon Holt previews the card at Lingfield for All-Weather Finals Day and he has four selections including Island Of Life.
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ALL-WEATHER Finals Day at Lingfield on Friday provides a mind-bending test for punters with much of the form closely inter-linked in four of the seven races while Amade, Kachy and Wissahickon are all set to start short-priced favourites in the other three contests.
A year ago, French-trained horses ran riot and none of the cross-Channel challengers this time should be under-estimated.
Taking each race in turn......
In the opening Sun Racing All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap, GALLIPOLI could gain consolation for a slightly unlucky third last year when he missed the break badly as a result of his blindfold being removed slowly.
Richard Fahey's gelding seems in good form again after recent seconds behind Keyser Soze and Cardsharp and, with promising claimer Sean Davis aboard, could be well suited by the likely strong pace with the dropped-in-trip Sha La La La Lee likely to go off hard.
On ratings, Amade has a clear chance in the Betway All-Weather Marathon after a career-best performance to beat Elegiac (winner since) at Chelmsford last month and Christophe Soumillon's mount now bids for a six-timer.
Past Cambridgeshire winner Spark Plug looks a potentially interesting rival, however, and won a Listed event at Kempton (1m4f) in December while a subsequent defeat over two miles on the same course in a slowly run race may have been inconclusive with regards to his stamina.
Meeting regular Watersmeet, who finished third behind Funny Kid and Lord George (disappointing recently) in this race last year and finished second to Winning Story in 2017, looks sure to run another solid race.
The third race is the Ladbrokes Fillies and Mares Championship and ISLAND OF LIFE could be hard to beat if reproducing her fine second behind the higher-rated Above The Rest in the Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton last month.
William Haggas's daughter of Dubawi looks progressive and had won her previous three starts.
She is 3lb worse off for the three-quarters of a length she beat Castle Hill Cassie in January (Crossing The Line last of seven) again at Wolverhampton but may have improved since and the pair could well be fighting out the finish.
Under different circumstances, I would fancy Clon Coulis (better at a mile?), the up-in-distance Gorgeous Noora and the down in trip Rasima but the French challenger Silvery Mist, a short-head second in a Deauville Listed race in December, could be a threat if better for a more recent run at Chantilly.
In the Betway All-Weather Sprint, Kachy ought to be hard to beat after scintillating wins at Wolverhampton and over this course and distance over the winter.
Tom Dascombe's speed machine seems to get six furlongs well enough on the polytrack and his defeat (when again favourite) by City Light in this race last year was not so disappointing given that the winner was beaten only a short head by Merchant Navy in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot subsequently.
Chantilly winner Forza Capitano and Encrypted, who won a warm Listed race here in November, are the likely dangers this time.
The Ladbrokes 3yo Championship is a tight race but the Soumillon-ridden PIZZICATO has thrived since been switched to an artificial surface winning a Listed race at Chantilly (6f) last time having earlier been beaten by the Archie Watson-trained Barys over a mile at Cagnes Sur Mer.
If the handicapper has got his sums right, the son of Dabirsim holds a narrow edge over Concierge and Charming Kid with the latter given a strong chance if able to reproduce his third to Advertise in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket last summer.
The shortest priced favourite of the day will be Wissahickon in the Betway Easter Classic and John Gosden's easy Cambridgeshire winner has looked imperious in three straight wins over the course and distance this year, including when winning the Winter Derby in February.
He is well clear in the ratings and would need to run some way below his best if Victory Bond and Master The World, who were first and second in this last year, are to have any chance.
Finally, the Sun Racing All-Weather Mile looks a particularly open contest but OH THIS IS US could be the one to beat if returning to his best form.
Placed in Group Twos on turf at Doncaster and Longchamp last autumn, Richard Hannon's hardy six-year-old defied 9st12lb to win over the course and distance in February only to then flop badly behind Above The Rest at Wolverhampton.
Perhaps the seven furlong trip that day was a bit on the sharp side but, with a bit in hand over these rivals, he is taken to put that run behind him under regular pilot Tom Marquand.
Preview posted at 1445 BST on 18/04/2019
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