The Secret Racegoer dodges the showers at Lingfield to look for future stars
A Lingfield racegoer, slightly red in the face and slightly unsteady on his pins asked the Secret Racegoer if the upcoming race, the seventh, was the last. He was told it was, but asked again and, getting the same answer, still wanted to make sure.
Only after the seventh race had been run, did the Secret Racegoer realise why the enquirer was confused. An Arab race was tacked on to the end of the thoroughbred proceedings, a contest the Racing Post didn’t find space for.
Also missing from the Racing Post was the starting position on its racecourse map of Lingfield’s newly introduced 1m5f distance, which is “set to be a crowd pleaser with the stalls being located right in front of the grandstand”.
The crowd, and it was a decent crowd, might have been more pleased had the day remained sunny and dry, but the forecast light showers arrived and were heavy, as was the going, as was a sausage roll.
However, the conditions did not prevent Ballydoyle from having another easy Derby trial winner when Anthony Van Dyck, under Ryan Moore (pictured), got home comfortably in the Lingfield classic audition worth £26k to the winner.
It was a workmanlike victory and was pretty well expected, albeit in the betting ring Anthony Van Dyck opened at 15/8, went out to 9/4, before starting at 2/1.
What might not have been quite so expected but, judging by the intensity of William Haggas (pictured) in watching the preliminaries and the race itself, hoped for, was the runner-up Pablo Escobar who looks to have a decent future ahead of him and is well worth keeping an eye on.
The Oaks Trial delivered a filly who looked a better candidate for Classic victory at Epsom in the shape of Anapurna. She is progressing nicely and won by six lengths with Frankie Dettori aboard for John Gosden. She will have learnt even more from the Lingfield race, and very much caught the eye.
If Pablo Escobar is one for the future for William Haggas, who was well protected against the rain, Pretty Baby is already delivering, picking up her second Group 3 race in the Chartwell Fillies Stakes over seven-furlongs, but she could be in with a shout at the next grade up, possibly over a mile.
Ryan Moore made two more visits to the winners’ berth, on War Glory and Alhakmah for Richard Hannon.
Racegoers weren’t making multiple visits to the winners’ enclosure as the afternoon was peppered by the heavy showers, and Lingfield doesn’t afford much protection from the elements. But, when the sun was shining there was a good buzz at the Surrey track, and towards the end of the day the showers moved quickly away helped by a strong breeze.
Also moving quickly were members of the security team who rushed to the betting ring where a bit of an argument broke out. It wasn’t anything serious and one young man, after receiving a dressing-down from a racecourse official, showed his remorse by giving the official a kiss.
More leisurely was the five-minute walk back to Lingfield station (made before the Arabs raced) but as the departure board came into view, whilst the words were too far away to make out what they said, it was clear one word was long enough to spell out “CANCELLED”. And sure enough “CANCELLED” came into focus, with the explanation that it was due to an earlier tree on the line.
The next train was 30 minutes later and would have to cope with double the number of homeward-bound racegoers. So it was a good excuse to skip the next train, and take the 10-minute walk along a country path, past the village church, with fields on either side, to the Star Inn.
It’s a pleasing country pub, busy on racedays but coping admirably and providing a good pint of Guinness. Not so good was watching Leinster surrendering a first-half lead to Saracens in rugby’s Heineken Challenge Cup Final, to lose 20-10.