Thought I would take a look at the final All Weather Championship Qualifier for 2019. The basic rules are as follows.
1. Either a horse must run a minimum of three times on the all-weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland or France (or twice on the all-weather surfaces in Britain, Ireland or France and once on the dirt at Meydan in Dubai).
2. Or a horse can win a specific Fast-Track Qualifier which will qualify for free and guaranteed entry into a specific race on finals day.
- Above The Rest. Top Rating 94.78, No CD Rating. Should be rated high enough to qualify. He clearly has the class to win this having won a Group 3 on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Apex King. Top Rating 92.2, No CD Rating. Has already had the 3 qualifying runs but is only rated 86 so will not qualify unless winning this, in my opinion though, it would take a massive leap in form to even go close against this field.
- Arcanada. Top Rating 94.51, Top CD Rating 89.37. Should be qualified on Official Ratings and needs today’s run. He looks the most likely to go forward but looks better suited by an extra furlong so this looks a prep run for finals day.
- Cardsharp. Top Rating 85.26, No CD Rating. A very interesting runner has he should easily qualify on Official Ratings but is yet to run during the qualifying period so needs to win this in order to qualify for finals day. With only one run on the AW which was over a straight 6 furlongs at Newcastle it is interesting that Mark Johnston has pitched him in at this level especially over a distance that he has appeared to struggle at. He may well be on to go forward and contest the early speed.
- Documenting. Top Rating 95.69, Top CD Rating 93.11. One of only 2 CD winners in the field. Looks guaranteed a place on finals day already and looked impressive last time out winning a CD 0-95 with embarrassing ease although that field did look a great deal weaker than today’s. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Island Of Life. Top Rating 93.99, Top CD Rating 90.08. The only other CD winner in the field but also the only female in the race so receives 5lbs from the males. She is guaranteed a place in the Fillies And Mares race on finals day after winning a Fast Track Qualifier over CD. She should be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Keystroke. Top Rating 96.74, Top CD Rating 93.37. Has a great record from his 3 runs at the track resulting in a second over CD in this race last year and 2 wins over 1½ miles. He has the best final pace rating in the field so will be suited by the likely strong gallop.
- Oh This Is Us. Top Rating 93.42, No CD Rating. The highest rated runner on Official Ratings and Racing Post Ratings and only needs to turn up today to guarantee a place on finals day. His form though does look a little suspect in my opinion. He beat inferior rivals last time out and the proximity of Apex King is a worry. He should be suited by the likely strong gallop but does look short enough to me.
Conclusion: I am expecting this to be contested at a decent gallop with Cardsharp and Arcanada likely to cut across from their draws in 9 and 7 respectively. Oh This Is Us may be inconvenienced by Cardsharp so will need a deliberate move to pull him back in behind. Stall 1 is a worry for Above The Rest as he will need plenty of luck in running so that leaves it between Island Of Life and Keystroke. It is Keystroke that just shades it for me.