2023 Turf Season Off To A Winning Start
The historic Lincoln meeting at Doncaster signals the start of the turf season and kicks off the flat. Whilst there is some good racing on offer, it does tend to be subjective to Mother Nature as conditions can vary year to year. Unfortunately the tough, soft conditions were unsuitable for the team on Saturday but day 2 provided one sprinter with his ideal conditions. Returning to action in fine style, Aleezdancer bolted up and produced a career best performance in the 6f Mental Health Awareness Handicap.
Turning 4yo this year, Aleezdancer has shown talent in his short career but has also produced his best performances when conditions are easy underfoot. Reaching a career high mark of 93 last season, he was given a tough task late in the season when tackling the Ayr Gold Cup. He proved that the mark wouldn’t be too much of a hindrance when rounding the season off with a good 3rd at Ascot.
Although he isn’t the biggest, Aleezdancer did well with another winter on his back and looked a stronger horse again this year. Never one to take too much to get ready, Aleezdancer was immediately aimed for the opening weekend. Everything going smoothly he arrived at Doncaster with the conditions in his favour and Neil Callan booked for the ride. Typically the 19 runners will be seeing each other throughout the course of the season in theses good sprints so it was early bragging rights for one.
Drawn 2 meant that Aleezdancer was stuck out on the wing a little but once he jumped well Callan latched on to the early pace, sitting just behind. With 1 /12 days racing on soft ground, the turf had been churned up and the field made a move to the stands side in search of better ground. Despite the tough going, the pace was generous enough and there was no hiding place.
Always within striking distance of the leaders, Aleezdancer travelled well through the first half of the race. When the pace increased, well over 2 1/2f from home, Callan was able to move forward with the leaders. Little was able to get into it as those held up were never going to quicken and catch the leaders. Aleezdancer was under a drive and he was moving through the gears, easily matching the leaders. There was a break beginning to appear as Aleezdancer came through to lay down a big challenge inside the 2f pole.
Realistically the race was over once the leaders pressed on to the final furlong. Nothing was going to get involved from off the space now and it was Aleezdancer who increasingly looked stronger. although he had been working away, Callan had yet to go for everything because he was getting the response anyway. The leader was a sitting duck inside the final furlong and once Aleezdancer took the lead the result was inevitable. Striding clear in the final 100 yards, the winning margin grew to 2 1/4 lengths, putting an exclamation mark on the performance.
It was great to start the season off with a winner and Aleezdancer has taken another step forward. He is a different horse when conditions are like this but he shouldn’t be pigeon holed into just acting on though going. Obviously he will be getting a hike in the handicap now and the top handicap sprints will be in order for the season. Hopefully the season can continue in the same trend that Aleezdancer has set.