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LINGFIELD (ALL WEATHER)
Lingfield’s Polytrack surface has recently been relaid and early results suggest the new track is a little slower than the original. The fact remains, however, if your selection does not have a good position coming off the final turn, you are unlikely to be celebrating a winner, though front-runners very rarely make all anymore on a course which used to greatly favour those that raced up with the pace, especially when the original Equitrack surface was in use.
The tight, left-handed Polytrack course has grown in importance down the years and executives now have no qualms about switching the Turf track’s big races to the artificial surface if it means saving them from abandonment. Both the Oaks Trial and Derby Trial, for example, were staged on the ‘sand’ in 2012 as was the Group 3 Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes. The 1m2f Winter Derby, staged in March, is one of the regular all-weather season’s big races and one of only three pattern races run in the UK on Polytrack. It used to be the domain of proven all-weather performers but trainers have begun to take the contest more seriously lately and useful performers from the Turf now frequently have entries.
A low draw is definitely still an advantage on the all-weather, especially in sprints, but the far rail is not the place to be sat behind a wall of horses and has looked a little slower than the rest of the course up the straight since renovation was completed. John Gosden’s runners have a good record on the Polytrack, as have David Lanigan and Sir Mark Prescott’s three-year-olds. David Griffiths’ and Ed Dunlop’s older horses also do well.
Lingfield is an Arena Leisure course which opened in 1890 and has been staging Flat racing since 1894. The track is on the B2029 and reached via Junction 6 of the M25 and the A22. Lingfield Station is adjacent to the course and has regular services to London Bridge Victoria.
Left-handed Lingfield is an Arena Leisure course which opened in 1890 and has been staging Flat racing since 1894. The track is on the B2029 and reached via Junction 6 of the M25 and the A22. Lingfield Station is adjacent to the course and has regular services to London Bridge Victoria. When the all-weather track at Lingfield was built, it was envisaged that the artificial surface would stage racing during the wet winter months while the Turf course would stage racing during the drier summer months. But the Polytrack is now in use all-year round and saves the Turf course from excessive wear and tear and even takes over fixtures when the weather intervenes. Ability to handle the hill and sharp descent into the straight on the round course can be hugely important. On the straight course, it is undoubtedly better to be drawn high as that’s inevitably where the fancied horses head once the stalls open.
The Oaks Trial, a Listed contest for three-year-old fillies, and Derby Trial, a Group3 for colts and geldings, are the feature races run on the Turf course at Lingfield but neither have produced a classic winner at Epsom in recent years. High-Rise being the last to complete the Derby Trial/Derby double in 1998. Rod Millman’s runners do well in the low-grade handicaps on the Turf course at Lingfield while Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-olds farm the better races. Mick Channon also enjoys plenty of success with his three-year-olds and juveniles.
LINGFIELD (NATIONAL HUNT)
There are very few national hunt fixtures staged at Lingfield nowadays with the main meeting taking place in December, when the aptly-named December Novices’ Chase heads the card. The chase and hurdle course continues to have drainage problems, however, and the ground is normally either soft or heavy and a real test for the jumpers.
Tim Vaughan, Laura Mongan and Tom George’s runners do well in general, while Alan King and Seamus Mullins’ hurdlers are usually worth noting.