The All-Weather Championships were created in 2013, a series of races that culminate in Finals Day at Lingfield Park in April, often falling on Good Friday.
There are six championship categories, with qualification through either a minimum of three runs on the all-weather and a high enough BHA rating or by winning a Fast Track Qualifier. The races are held throughout the winter months at Lingfield, Chelmsford, Kempton, Southwell and Wolverhampton. There are also qualifiers in Ireland at Dundalk and in France at Cagnes-sur-Mer and Deauville. The introduction of the all-weather championships finals and the overall programme leading up to it has added a great focus and eagerly anticipated season-finale to the all-weather winter season.
Finals Day is the richest day of all-weather racing in Europe with prize money in excess of £1 million.
- 1 All-Weather Championships Finals Day – The Races
- 1.1 All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap
- 1.2 All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes
- 1.3 All-Weather Fillies’ and Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes
- 1.4 All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes
- 1.5 Three-year-old All Weather Championships Conditions Stakes
- 1.6 Easter Classic All Weather Middle Distance Championships Conditions Stakes
- 1.7 All Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes
- 2 Best Trainers & Jockeys at All-Weather Championships
- 3 Summary of The All-Weather Championships Finals Day
- 4 All-Weather Championships Betting
All-Weather Championships Finals Day – The Races
The main races of the finals day at Lingfield are the below:
All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap
Finals Day opens with the apprentice handicap for four-year-olds and upwards over seven furlongs.
This race was added to the All-Weather Championships Finals day programme in 2017 when nine-year-old Forceful Appeal won at 33-1 under Paddy Bradley. Adam McNamara took the riding honours in 2018 aboard 8-1 chance Take The Helm with Georgia Dobie winning on 14-1 shot Goring in 2019.
All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes
The first of the six championship races is the Marathon over two miles for four-year-olds and upwards.
Favourite Litigant won the inaugural running in 2014. He then produced a 33-1 victory in the Ebor Handicap at York after a 491-day absence, a stunning training performance by Joseph Tuite. Litigant struck again in 2015 when winning the November Handicap at Doncaster by four and a half lengths.
Moonrise Landing was another winning favourite in the Marathon in 2016, trained by Ralph Beckett and ridden by Jim Crowley. The grey daughter of Dalakhani also proved effective on turf, winning the listed Grand Cup at York on her next outing. Godolphin won the Marathon for the first time with Winning Story in 2017 before France struck with Funny Kid in 2018. Mark Johnston’s popular stayer Watersmeet became the oldest winner at the age of eight in 2019.
All-Weather Fillies’ and Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes
The Fillies’ and Mares’ over seven furlongs was claimed by France in 2015 with Fresles, trained by Madame Pia Brandt and ridden by Gregory Benoist. Mick Channon’s tough and consistent mare Volunteer Point won in 2016 and the first winning favourite was Diagnostic in 2018. She was trained by William Haggas and ridden by James Doyle.
Ryan Moore got his name on the scoresheet in 2019 when Heavenly Holly won for Hugo Palmer. She made all the running to repel Island Of Life who was attempting to give Haggas and Doyle back-to-back wins in the race.
All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes
The All-Weather Sprint Championship race is for four-year-olds and upwards over six furlongs.
Alben Star was a shock 25-1 winner of the inaugural running in 2014 for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan. The son of Clodovil returned to lift the prize for a second time when ridden by David Nolan in 2016.
Fahey and Hanagan were back in the winners’ enclosure in 2017, this time with the admirable sprinter Kimberella. Godolphin’s Pretend was an impressive winner at 6-5 favourite in 2015 but the shortest-priced winner was Kachy at 4-9 in 2019. Tom Dascombe’s gelding tragically incurred a fatal injury in February 2020. He is the track record holder over six furlongs at both Lingfield and Wolverhampton and now has a Fast Track qualifier at Lingfield named after him.
The highest class horse to win the Sprint was City Light for France in 2018. He defeated Kachy and later failed by only a short-head to beat Merchant Navy in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. He retired to stud after being narrowly beaten by One Master at Longchamp in October 2019.
Three-year-old All Weather Championships Conditions Stakes
The Three-year-old Championship over six furlongs was introduced in 2017 with the first three runnings all going to the favourite.
Second Thought won for William Haggas in 2017, Corinthia Knight for Archie Watson in 2018 and Transcendent for Fabrice Chappet of France in 2019.
Second Thought was runner-up to Harry Angel on his next start in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. Transcendent was also runner-up in a Group 3 next time before moving to Hong Kong and winning a valuable handicap.
Easter Classic All Weather Middle Distance Championships Conditions Stakes
The Easter Classic is the feature race on Finals Day over a mile and a quarter.
Favourites and joint-favourites won the first five runnings before Wissahickon suffered a shock defeat by Matterhorn in 2019. Godolphin’s 2015 winner Tryster went on to win a Group 1 at Meydan the following year and finished third in the Dubai Turf.
Ryan Moore has won the Easter Classic aboard Grandeur (2014) and Convey (2017). Victory Bond won for William Haggas and James Doyle in 2019. Matterhorn showed that his defeat of Wissahickon was no fluke by running consistently in Group races on the flat. He finally gained his first Group 1 victory when landing the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan in March 2020.
All Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes
The final race on the card is the All Weather Mile for four-year-olds and upwards.
Consistent turf and all-weather performer Oh This Is Us won in 2019 for Richard Hannon and Tom Marquand. His victory extended the run of beaten favourites to six in this event.
The late Pat Smullen rode 11-1 chance Captain Joy to victory for Ireland’s Tracey Collins in 2016. The biggest shock in the history of the event came when 40-1 outsider Lucky Team struck for France in 2018. Theo Bachelot delivered him with a perfectly-timed challenge to run down favourite Second Thought in the final 100 yards.
Best Trainers & Jockeys at All-Weather Championships
French raiders are always worth noting here. Relatively few make the journey across for Finals Day but several have more than paid their expenses. William Haggas and Richard Fahey like to get on the scoreboard at this meeting while James Doyle and Ryan Moore ride Lingfield particularly well.
Summary of The All-Weather Championships Finals Day
The All Weather Championships finals day at Lingfield on Good Friday, created by Arena Racing Company, have certainly helped to raise the profile of racing on the artificial surface with some serious prize money on offer – it being the richest race day for aw racing in the UK. The meeting also helps to whet the appetite for the up-coming turf season with many of the top trainers and jockeys involved.
All-Weather Championships Betting
Ante-post betting is available on the feature races for the All-Weather Championships all year round, with the most interest in the Easter Classic. Wissahickon blotted the copybook for favourites in this race but the presence of a fancied runner from one of the big yards always adds gloss to the meeting. The Mile and the Marathon are always competitive and there are plenty of each-way betting opportunities throughout the card.
For the current betting for the all-weather championships check out these top-rated horse racing betting sites below:
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals: