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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Four big clashes to get excited about at Lingfield and Newcastle

Muffri'Ha (Pat Cosgrave) finishes nicely clear in the 32Red-sponsored Listed 1m race
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Good Friday has increased in quality year after year since racing first took place in 2013. This year's action should be the best yet as the all-weather season reaches a conclusion and we look at some of the big clashes to watch out for

Grendisar v Convey
Betway Easter Classic (4.40 Lingfield)

Last season Grendisar was untouchable on the all-weather, huge cheekpieces and exaggerated waiting tactics from Lingfield wizard Adam Kirby having helped bring out the best in the quirky synthetics specialist.

Roll on 12 months and Grendisar is not quite the same horse. Age is a factor but also a better quality of rival has seen him come up just short on each of his runs this season. Among those efforts was a fifth behind Convey in the Winter Derby last month.

Convey, previously as frustrating as he was talented, showed great battling qualities to win the Winter Derby on his first start after being gelded. He is the one to beat, but the likes of Absolute Blast, Battalion and Elbereth are also going to make life tough for Grendisar.

Ennaadd v Qurbaan
Sun Bets Mile Championship Final (3.40 Lingfield)

This could be the race of the entire meeting. Ennaadd is a stakes horse, according to his trainer Roger Varian, who has backed up that assessment by entering him in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge.

He won a Fast Track Qualifier in November with so much ease, and he has won around Lingfield – albeit that was a maiden and not a quality race such as this.

The likes of Keystroke, My Target, Sovereign Debt and Salateen offer strength in depth, but it it French contender Qurbaan who looks the biggest danger. He is five from six on the all-weather and his sharp turn of foot means Lingfield should hold no problems. A super race in store.

Syphax and trainer Kevin Ryan (left) after the Acomb Stakes

Ashadihan v Muffri'ha v Realtra
32Red Fillies' And Mares' Championship Final (2.40 Lingfield)

Often considered to be the weakest race on finals day, that is far from the case this year.

Last year's 1-2 Volunteer Point and Bint Dandy are just also-rans in the betting this year with three fillies rated over 100 heading the market and the interest.

Muffri'ha bolted up in a Listed qualifier in November and has since been running in Group races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival. She was beaten less than a length in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta last time out.

Ashadihan was also a Group 1 regular last season and won another qualifier for this race with ease in February, while Realtra has won her only start on the all-weather (a Listed race) and has been another running in Dubai.

South Seas v Syphax
32Red Burradon Conditions Stakes (3.55 Newcastle)

Classic trials start next week at Newmarket, or at least they used to because this race could easily be used as a pointer to events at Newmarket, the Curragh, Deauville and Epsom in the coming months.

South Seas won the Solario Stakes at Sandown and was second to subsequent UAE 2,000 Guineas and UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud last year.

Syphax is unbeaten in two starts and impressed Godolphin so much when winning the Acomb Stakes they bought him.

Both horses are around 33-1 for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. 

Often considered to be the weakest race on finals day, that is far from the case this year
E.W. Terms
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