Lingfield Winter Million – Previews of the Inaugural Meeting on Friday

Lingfield hosts the new Winter Million series from Friday.Lingfield hosts the new Winter Million series from Friday.

Selections for the Seven Winter Million races at Lingfield on Friday

Announced before the jumps season began in earnest in 2021, the Lingfield Winter Million is a new race meeting over three days. Its inaugural show begins on Friday and we’ve had a look at the seven-race jumps card to pick out our early selections.

Nurse Susan (12:50 Lingfield, Winter Million mares’ Novices’ Hurdle)

The inaugural race at the Winter Million meeting looks full of depth, with a number of Britain’s top novice mares lining up.

Rainyday Woman has secured a hat-trick, including in Listed company last time out. However, all of those have come on sounder ground while she is possibly better over further.

Unlike her, NURSE SUSAN has been campaigned exclusively at shorter trips and has won both of her starts very comfortably. The latest came against the very useful flat performer Zabeel Champion and though not as visually exciting as her debut, there is every chance she can step up against stronger opposition and on a softer surface.

Legends Ryde (1:20 Lingfield, Winter Million EBF Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase)

LEGENDS RYDE was a clear second best to one of Britain’s best novice chase hopes for the Cheltenham Festival in L’Homme Presse last time. 

She has looked a more natural chaser than hurdler so far and was particularly fluent on her debut in this sphere at Ffos Las in october. The Graduation chase she contested next time out looked a strong one and it was to her credit that she came through as runner-up.

Jamie Snowden’s mare has been left on an unchanged mark of 125 despite that performance and even though she was receiving a number of allowances, that continues to make her appeal, especially back in handicap company against her own sex.

One True King (1:50 Lingfield, Handicap Chase)

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard are far from in the best form, but in ONE TRUE KING they have a chaser with potential to climb the handicap ladder further.

Despite his trainer clearly having been tempted to keep him up in trip, all of this horse’s wins under rules have come over two miles or shorter, including at Sandown for his sole chase victory in December. That run is sandwiched between a decent runner-up effort at Ffos Las and a fourth to the rapidly improving Brave Seasca at Ascot.

That latest effort can be upgraded after the winner hacked up once again at Warwick and he One True King is down 2lb here. He has won on soft before, so heavy going is unlikely to be an undue issue and there should be a decent pace to this contest.

On The Blind Side (near side) wins at Market Rasen in January 2021.

Nico de Boinville riding On The Blind Side on their way to winning the MansionBet’s Bet 10 Get 20 Hurdle at Market Rasen Racecourse.

On The Blind Side (2:25 Lingfield, Kazoo Hurdle)

It is worth forgiving ON THE BLIND SIDE a couple of disappointing efforts now that he is lowered significantly in class here.

His reappearance was particularly promising, in which he finished second to Thomas Darby, conceding him 4lb, in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle. However, he was then outclassed behind stablemate Champ in the Long Walk Hurdle and barely raised a gallop in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham.

That effort is the most concerning, but he probably wants all of three miles to operate at his best these days and won a similar, but stronger contest at this level a year ago. Despite his recent attempts, he remains the most reliable in this lineup.

Fantastikas (3:00 Lingfield, Weatherbys Nhstallions.Co.UK Novices’ Chase)

Having posted three RPRs in the 140s, FANTASTIKAS is the one horse in this novice chase who has competed in a Graded level contest of this nature.

Indeed, he has done so twice, finishing a slightly disappointing second to Threeunderthrufive. That winner is a very useful horse, but the Twiston-Davies team may have hoped for more of a fight given their charge was receiving 3lb.

However, he was much better at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, finishing a highly credible third to L’Homme Presse and that performance has him clear in this field to date. There are others who could emerge as improvers, but if Fantastikas runs his race, he is the one to beat.

Hacker Des Places (3:35 Lingfield, Sovereign Handicap Hurdle)

This meeting may not truly feel real if Paul Nicholls fails to get on the scoresheet. HACKER DES PLACES is the representative of his who makes most appeal at the early prices on the card.

He has only raced three times for Nicholls since joining from Francois Nicolle in France, winning very easily at Wetherby on his second effort. His debut was largely seen as disappointing, while he returned from exactly a year off at Kempton a few weeks ago.

It is possibly a sign of intent that Harry Cobden takes the ride for the first time and he arrived with a tall enough reputation that a mark of 132, 4lb lower than on his most recent start, looks to be one off which he can be competitive.

Zhiguli (4:08 Lingfield, Winter Million Handicap Chase)

The benefactor of a final fence faller on his first start over the larger obstacles, ZHIGULI will likely relish the return to heavy underfoot conditions.

His victory, regardless of the fortune of it, was on soft ground at this track in October, before he was fourth to impressive winners Fantastikas and Palmers Hill.

His run in the latter race was particularly promising, as the winner was extremely impressive. Zhiguli was not far behind the second and a 1lb ease in the weights seems lenient.

Back on a softer surface and slightly up in trip once more, he looks primed for a decent run and a second chase success.