It’s time for the All Weather season to begin.
Starting this Thursday, the AW season returns running from October 27th through to the All Weather Finals day on the 14th April. Perhaps the fastest growing area of our sport AW racing has hit new heights over recent years and with the addition of Newcastle’s AW switch I am sure this year will surpass the last.
Tight turns, crucial draw bias, AW specialists and a mixture of surfaces are all things we can look forward too over the next 6 months. Last year was a huge success yielding 133pts profit. The aim has to be to surpass that number this year and that is entirely possible due to the increased number of race meetings scheduled for this season. Not only do we have the welcome new addition of Newcastle’s AW track but we will also be taking a trip to Cagnes Sur-Mer for a fascinating All Weather finals mile qualifier.
What is the All Weather Championship?
The All Weather Championship is a winter season for flat racing; it allows flat racing to take place all year round on all weather surfaces. At the moment we have 6 courses in Britain, 7 if you are including Dundalk and they all play their part in providing race meetings throughout the season in the lead up to All Weather Finals day at Lingfield Park. Throughout the season there will be a number of All Weather final day qualifiers. Winning one of these races will allow free entry to the correspondent event on All Weather finals day; however this is not the only way to gain an entry. Due to the competitive nature of these races, The All Weather Championship has a rule in place that allows horses to be entered if they have raced in at least three All Weather races throughout the season. If the horse is rated high enough then they can still run on All Weather Finals day in their respective race despite the fact they haven’t won an All Weather qualifier.
What is AW finals day?
A huge day on the racing calendar, it stands alone as the highlight of the whole All Weather season. The All Weather Final’s day boast’s an impressive prize fund which totals 1 million split evenly between 7 different race categories.
The 7 categories are as follows:
The 32Red.com 3 Year Old Championships – 6f’s
The 3 year old championship sprint is open only to 3 year old horses, Won last year by the impressive Wolowitz who beat some notable runners including Gracious John and Kadrizzi.
The 32Red.com 3 Year Old Championships – 8f’s
The 3 year old Championship mile is open only to 3 year old horses. Sea Of Flames ran out an impressive winner last year and this year I expect to a similarly competitive event.
THE SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIPS – 6f’s +1yard
Open to horses 4 years or older the sprint is highly competitive and attracts a large field. The race was won last year by Alben Star who beat the likes of Goken, Lancelot Du Lac and Boom The Groom.
THE MILE CHAMPIONSHIPS –8f’s
The mile race is hugely competitive and usually attracts a list of star names attempting to win the prize. Last year Irish raider Caption Joy stole the race from the David Nichols trained Sovereign Debt and Roger Varian’s Mindyourownbusiness.
The Marathon Championships – 15f’s +169yards.
One of my particular favourites, this race was won last year by Moonrise Landing who has recently suffered an injury. This looks a very open contest this year and I must admit I’d be surprised if Godolphin weren’t lining up one horse to replace Anglophile who has become frustrating in previous years. Find out who I predict may be the one Godolphin place to win it this year in my AW package.
The 32Red.com Fillies & Mares Championships – 7f’s +1yard
It is what it says on the tin, open to fillies and mares this race is usually very competitive and has been known to throw up a few surprise results over the years.
The Middle Distance Championships – 10f’s
Dominated by Grendisar last season, this race must surely be there for the taking. Grendisar will be back for more, however I’m sure his dominance will be more readily challenged this year.
Some old names to look out for:
Lancelot Du Lac is an old favourite on the All Weather and I would imagine will be out to claim revenge this year. He was all the rage in the Ante Post market for the sprint final last year but was dealt a killer blow when drawn out in the car park. Despite this he ran a stormer to finish 2nd and has only been given a few spins on turf this year so will be fresh for the AW season.
Gracious John was everything but gracious last year. He was a handful to say the least but the speed he possesses cannot be denied. He seemed to get his act together on turf this year with some creditable efforts and if he can transfer that to the AW then he is a danger to all in the sprint division.
Ballynanty continues to improve and has surely got a huge chance in the marathon division this year. He finished a gallant third in the event last year and has improved again since then.
Sea of Flames ran out a convincing winner of 3 year old mile last year. He hasn’t been seen all that much on turf this year so the natural route would be for this horse to target the mile championship this year.
Grendisar is an old warrior on the AW circuit, if I’m honest he’s a class act but he’s a class act that needs to be dethroned this year. It would be great to see something turn up to challenge him because last year it was all too easy for this horse.
Realize just kept on winning last year, progressive all year he rocketed up the handicap and ended up running a creditable 5th in the sprint last year.
Sovereign Debt is alike to Grendisar an old warrior on the AW circuit. I like how Nichols targets races with this horse and I’m sure he will have a plan set out for this season.
Some new names to look out for:
Oceanographer is currently out in Australia and may just pop up in next week’s Melbourne Cup however this horse is 2 from 2 on the AW and I just feel as though Godolphin must be getting frustrated by Anglophille after the last two years. Oceanographer is progressing at a fast rate of knots and finished a close up third in the Geelong Cup recently. If Godolphin wants to win the All Weather Marathon final race then this would be a perfect stepping stone for Oceanographer.
Muffri’ha is an interesting new arrival to the AW scene, however I caught an interview recently which would suggest this is the route this horse will be taking after a few recent successes on turf.
Lasttangoinparis has some strong form to her name and remains lightly raced. This horse will be suited by an all weather surface and on her most recent form must be a danger for whatever race she goes for.
Great and Small has been campaigned in a weird way all season and for me I don’t understand it. There was a perfect race at Goodwood, the horse was well in at the weights and would have surely won. Instead she was made a non runner and sent to ascot for a very difficult race where she received hardly any weight. As one would imagine she ran well but was nowhere near good enough to trouble some group 2 rated older rivals. There are two possible explanations. One being that she is being kept back for a tilt on the AW, the second that they wanted to keep her profile down for next season. Either way she is an interesting horse going forward.
Nuclear Power just keeps on improving and seems to be thriving on racing. For me this is a horse that will surely be targeted at the AW 3 year old sprint and I struggle to see him not running a huge race come finals day.
So there we have it – a full lowdown on the upcoming AW season and remember it starts this Thursday!
Remember you can get your ALL WEATHER PACKAGE with myself right here – almost 6 months of top class AW racing and my 5 HORSES TO FOLLOW on the surface!