The 2014 All-Weather Championship Finals Day took place on Friday at the Lingfield Park Resort in Surrey as the All-Weather racing season came to an end.
Six All-Weather Championships categories and a seventh Apprentice Jockeys race were at stake at Lingfield with £1 million in prize money set to be divided at the end of a magnificent day of racing.
At the Races congratulated the six jockeys in conclusion of the final race:
Viewpoint took the first-ever Good Friday race in the day's opener, winning the Apprentice Handicap. 17-year-old jockey Cam Hardie was understandably ecstatic with the result
"I'm over the moon," Hardie told Sky Sports. "It's my first winner for the boss and I can't thank him enough. The horse was fit from running and I was told to have him handy."
The first race of the day didn't go smoothly though as Icebuster refused to start, resulting in this funny reaction from Time Form:
Looks like Icebuster had his reservations about racing on Good Friday.— Timeform (@Timeform1948) April 18, 2014
Hardie took the lead going into the final stages of the race and was able to beat out Grendisar, who nearly caught up in the sprint.
The Fillies and Mares were won by 8-1 favourite Living The Life with rider Adam Kirby dominating the pack from start to finish on his way to securing his second consecutive Jockey of the Season award.
Owner Henry R Northhaft travelled all the way from the United States to watch his filly win, and his comment to Sky Sports that "This is what racing is all about" echoed a sentiment shared by many.
Trainer Phil McEntee was also happy with the result and the performance of the jockey, as shared by Greg Wood:
Phil McEntee, winning trainer, on Adam Kirby's ride: "Adam was brilliant from the front. He kicked her out, steadied them up."— Greg Wood (@Greg_Wood_) April 18, 2014
A frantic 3 Year Old Championship was won by Ertijaal, who had to overcome a bad start and a very high early pace to deliver on his 4-5 odds, taking a late lead and never looking back.
The horse has really impressed recently, and Jack Keene is excited about what the future might bring:
The more experience he gains through racing will really help Ertijaal. Throw in an extra furlong and he's a serious, serious horse— Jack Keene (@jkeene124) April 18, 2014
Favourite Litigant left it late to win the Marathon as Jim Crowley's Arch Villain looked set to break for the finish with just a handful of furlongs to go.
But George Baker steered his horse towards the leader with great patience, and his efforts were ultimately rewarded as he overtook Crowley in the very last furlong.
As this fan shared, the final stages of the race were truly exciting and quite frustrating for a particular group of people:
lol if Litigant wins this bookies will be crying— Big Phil (@OriginalBigPhil) April 18, 2014
But those bookmakers were able to rejoice later in the day as Alben Star (25-1) took the Sprint ahead of heavily favoured Trinityelitedotcom.
The 5-1 favourite dominated right from the start and looked to have the race in the bag with just a few hundred yards to go, but Alben Star and Paul Hanagan stole the win late by a head.
As shared by At the Races, the win made it a double for Hanagan:
Captain Cat turned a difficult situation into a win during the Mile as the five-year-old was in last position with two furlongs left to go before a thunderous final sprint led James Doyle and his horse to the win.
The favourite didn't enter the Lincoln and that decision proved to be the right one. A patient approach and the race's high race led to Captain Cat being the freshest in the final stages.
Grandeur won the final race of the day, the Coral Easter Classic, in remarkable fashion as the conclusion of an entire season of All-Weather racing came down to a final sprint between Grandeur and second-placed Dick Doughtywylie.
As shared by the BBC's Cornelius Lysaght, the crowd could barely contain itself during the day's grand finale:
#Lingfield: capacity crowd raises roof as Grandeur (Ryan Moore) beats Dick Doughtywylie, Robin Hoods Bay in a thriller to the finale (5-20)— Cornelius Lysaght (@CorneliusRacing) April 18, 2014
Jockey Ryan Moore praised both his horse and the trainer:
Ryan Moore on Grandeur : "He's the best horse in the race and he's done well. Fair play to @JeremyNoseda who mapped him out for this."— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) April 18, 2014
Dick Doughtywylie's bid for a win looked to come undone when Grandeur set itself in perfect position to win it all midway through the race, but as the home straight grew shorter and shorter, the grey couldn't overtake John Gosden's horse. It wasn't until the final yards before the favourite finally pulled through for an emphatic finish.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda confirmed the horse will probably go to the USA next, per Sky Sports:
I'll have a chat with the owners but he's shown he is suited to racing in America and he'll probably go to Belmont in May and June.
The American turf horses aren't as tough as what we have to face here and there's a lot of money on offer.
Here are the All-Weather Championships' final results and prize money:
|10||The Lock Master|
|1||Living The Life||£93,375|
|2||High Time Too||£27,960|
|14||Burren View Lady|
|5||Sir Robert Cheval|
|4||Castillo Del Diablo||£6,990|
|7||Duchess Of Gazeley|
|8||Lancelot Du Lac|
|3||Robin Hood's Bay||£18,640|
With the news that next season might feature a new racetrack—the Newcastle Racecourse has received approval to transform its track into one that is up to standards for the All-Weather season, according to its official website—the 2014-15 season is already shaping up to be another banner year for the sport.
Friday's massive success also all but insures Good Friday-racing will make a return next season.
The All-Weather Championships will return in the fall of 2014.