The exciting sixth season of the continuing success story, the All-Weather Championships, starts at Newcastle Racecourse on Tuesday, October 23 and culminates with the tremendous £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19, 2019.
Headlining the seven-race programme at Newcastle on October 23 is the £25,000 Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Conditions Race over six furlongs on Tapeta, the first of 24 Fast-Track Qualifiers during the 2018/19 All-Weather Championships.
There are four Fast-Track Qualifiers for each of the six categories. The Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Conditions Race gives the winner a guaranteed and free place in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship on Good Friday next year.
Entries for the Newcastle race will be published just after 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday, October 17.
Season six of the All-Weather Championships has the same six championship categories as season five, with Ladbrokes returning as one of the three sponsors alongside existing backers Betway and Sun Racing.
The All-Weather Championships categories are as follows:
£150,000 Three-Year-Olds sponsored by Ladbrokes - 6f Final
£150,000 Fillies & Mares sponsored by Ladbrokes - 7f Final
£150,000 Mile sponsored by Sun Racing - 1m Final
£150,000 Sprint sponsored by Betway - 6f Final
£150,000 Marathon sponsored by Betway - 2m Final
£200,000 Middle Distance sponsored Betway - 10f Final
The All-Weather Championships have gone from strength to strength since launching in 2013/14, improving the quality and prestige of All-Weather Racing in Britain and beyond.
Finals Day 2018 demonstrated the growing overseas appeal of the All-Weather Championships, with French challengers capturing three of the six championship category finals from the record eight runners from France and Ireland.
The most impressive of the French-trained winners, Betway All-Weather Sprint Champion City Light, captured a G3 contest at Longchamp on his next start before going down by a short-head to Merchant Navy in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Funny Kid, who carries the famous colours of Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, swooped late to land the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship and followed that up with a comfortable victory in the G3 Prix de Barbeville at Longchamp on April 29.
Ladbrokes will also sponsor the £100,000 Listed Ladbrokes Burradon Stakes, which forms part of the £250,000 card at Newcastle on Good Friday, April 19, 2019.
The inaugural running of the mile contest in 2017 was won by subsequent G2 scorer Forest Ranger, while the 2018 victor Gronkowski went on to finish second behind US Triple Crown winner Justify in the G1 Belmont Stakes in June.
There are two ways for horses to qualify for one of the finals on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park:
* A horse can win a 'Fast Track Qualifier' race which will ensure a FREE and GUARANTEED place in the corresponding final on Good Friday. There are four Fast Track Qualifiers in each of the six Championship Categories hosted at racecourses in Great Britain, Ireland and France. If a filly wins any of the Fast-Track Qualfier races for either the Sprint or the Mile categories, the filly will be qualified for the final of that specific category, or for the Fillies and Mares Final.
* A horse must run a minimum of three times on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland and France; or twice on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland, France and once on dirt in Dubai during the qualifying period between October 23, 2018 and the six-day entry stage for the finals (Saturday, April 13, 2019) and then be rated high enough to 'make the cut' in a final by order of its BHA Rating.
There are six All-Weather racecourses in Britain - Chelmsford City (Polytrack), Kempton Park (Polytrack), Lingfield Park (Polytrack), Newcastle (Tapeta), Southwell (Fibresand) and Wolverhampton (Tapeta) - with all bar Southwell staging Fast-Track Qualifiers.
There are two Fast-Track Qualifiers in Ireland at Dundalk (Polytrack), plus three in France at Chantilly (Polytrack), Deauville (Polytrack) and Cagnes-sur-Mer (Polytrack).
2019 is 30 years on from the introduction of All-Weather Racing into Britain. The first All-Weather raceday was staged at Lingfield Park on October 30, 1989, with the opening race going the way of the Conrad Allen-trained Niklas Angel, partnered by Richard Quinn and owned by Peter Charalambous.