Temple Of Heaven proved a class apart in the feature Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Conditions Stakes at Newcastle on Tuesday, the opening fixture of the 2019/20 All-Weather Championships.
The six-furlong Tapeta contest was a Fast-Track Qualifier and Temple Of Heaven is now guaranteed a free start in £150,000 Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10, 2020.
Trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by Sean Levey, Temple Of Heaven was having his first start since finishing 13th when joint-favourite for the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Iffraaj colt, sent off a 4/1 chance in first time blinkers, travelled keenly in amongst horses in the early stages as the five runners were taken along by 13/8 favourite Desert Safari (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning).
Temple Of Heaven improved as the pace increased and hit the front approaching the final furlong before readily putting distance between himself and the rest of the field. The winning margin was five lengths back to Desert Safari, with a further length back to Aleneva (Richard Fahey/P J McDonald, 25/1) in third. The winning time was 1m 12.02s.
The victory completed a 1124/1 treble for trainer Richard Hannon, following the 14/1 successes of County Of Amazonia and Buridan earlier on the card. Levey, also on Buridan, enjoyed a 74/1 double.
Sean Levey said: “I would have been surprised had Temple Of Heaven not have performed like that to be honest, as he is classy.
“I might suggest the blinkers come off him next time as he was just doing a little bit too much. In all fairness, he dropped the lot at halfway and he was happy to be there. When I asked him to go, he did it well and I struggled to pull him up again.
“If you look at his first and second runs, he has always shown he has that ability in there. I know he is an Iffraaj and he may carry his head a bit high, but that is just the way he is. There is no real sign of him being ungenuine. What we have found with him at home is that while we were forever trying to get him to do the right thing, which is to settle in behind, he maybe just got too relaxed. Hence, that is why the blinkers came on board today as we felt he might just need a bit of lightening up.”
Looking back to Temple Of Heaven’s disappointing run at Royal Ascot, Levey continued: “Bar four horses in that race, everything goes wrong for everyone else as horses go there on the back of good maiden wins and are entitled to be there. He just disappointed that day in a good field and had a lot of time off afterwards – I definitely think the right thing was done by him.
“I am not sure what will happen now. Before today, the plan was to go for the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy but he didn’t go there because of the ground. It was great to be able to come for this race as he was going so well at home. It is great he has got this win under his belt. I am not sure where he will go next – I am sure the owners and Richard will sit down and make a plan.”
Season seven of the All-Weather Championships runs from Tuesday, October 22, 2019 and culminates with All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, April 10, 2020 at Lingfield Park.
The seven races on All-Weather Championships Finals Day are worth a total of £1 million.