Charlie Appleby is enjoying plenty of success in Meydan and looks poised to continue his recent form on home soil with Pretend in Saturday’s Listed Cleves Stakes at Lingfield.
Live on Sky Racing 1, Lingfield stages a fascinating seven-race-card with two Listed contests including the Cleves Stakes which will be a key pointer to the All-Weather Spring Championships in April. Charlie Appleby has had a remarkable year and has continued to build on his successful foray to Australia with further global success and looks to have a real all-weather star on his hands with Pretend. Appleby continues to fire in winner after winner with five from his last nine runners successful in Meydan and that run of form should continue back in the UK.
Pretend’s credentials stand out as the six-year-old, who doesn’t have too many miles on the clock, boasts an outstanding all-weather record of seven wins from 11 starts. He hasn’t been able to transfer that ability to turf in four starts and is far better suited by an artificial surface. The son of Invincible Spirit was a winner at the All-Weather Championships two years ago and looks poised for success once again after a superb winning return at Kempton last month over Saturday’s distance of 1200 metres. He’s got a progressive profile on the polytrack and demonstrated a high cruising speed and smart turn of foot for a comfortable win at Kempton.
Dean Ivory’s Lancelot Du Lac will be in opposition and will be the main danger off the back off a good weight-carrying performance in a Chelmsford handicap at the start of the year. That was the seven-year-old’s first run since July when he’d struggled to make a mark in group races on the turf, however he’s a better horse on the all-weather where his record stands at six wins from 12. The son of Shamardal was runner-up in last year’s All-Weather Sprint Championships which is the target for those lining up on Saturday.
Other notable entries include Justice Good, Ashadihan and Gracious John. David Elsworth’s Justice Good was sixth in last year’s renewal while the David Evans-trained Gracious John is always competitive at this level and finished a close sixth in last year’s All-Weather Sprint Championships. Meanwhile Kevin Ryan’s Ashadihan would be returning to the scene of her only run on the all-weather when winning a Group 3 last May but has to handle the drop back to sprint distances.
G3 - Lowland S
Listed - Ibhayi Stakes
G3 - Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes
G1 - Pascoes The Jewellers Northern Oaks
G3 - The Founders Cup (1700)