IT IS Good Friday with a difference. Never before has the day hosted racing, and for many enthusiasts it's the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Open Days at Middleham and Lambourn.
Those two events are still taking place, but there is opposition from a sensational £1 million all-weather meeting at Lingfield and a richly-endowed Musselburgh fixture, highlighted by the £50,000 Royal Mile.
Although there has been a section of the industry opposed to introducing racing on Good Friday, North Yorkshire trainers David O'Meara and Richard Fahey will not be complaining if they can land major prizes at opposite ends of the country.
O'Meara saddles Frontier Fighter in the £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield, while Fahey bids for the totepool Royal Mile with Roachdale House.
Frontier Fighter has an excellent chance of hitting the jackpot. He has been in great heart throughout the winter and has developed into a potent all-weather campaigner, versatile over a variety of distances.
This one mile contest looks ideal for Frontier Fighter and although he meets four previous course and distances at a venue largely unfamiliar to him, he should go well in the hands of Danny Tudhope.
Roachdale House takes on 11 rivals in Musselburgh's showpiece and Tony Hamilton will be in the saddle of last season's dual-winning juvenile. Successful at Newcastle and Doncaster, both times over seven furlongs, Roachdale House looks the type to continue progressing this year. This looks a tough and competitive contest, but the Malton raider looks sure to make a bold bid.
Remaining at Musselburgh, Borderlescott aims to win the race named in his honour, the totepool.com Borderlescott Sprint Trophy, which boasts £25,000 in prize money.
Winner of 14 races, and twice triumphant in the Nunthorpe Stakes in his prime. Borderlescott is now 12-years-old and will do well to cut the mustard with some of his rivals here. If he did happen to win, it would raise the roof.
A more likely winner is Heeraat, trained at Newmarket by William Haggas and a Group 3 Newbury winner last season. He is very smart on his day and it looks significant that Haggas is sending him so far north for his seasonal debut.
Two others to note in Scotland are nap selection Sirvino (3.15), who caught the eye staying on strongly into fifth place at Thirsk last Saturday, and Mick Easterby's Kalk Bay (4.25), who finished third at Pontefract on Monday and looked a most unlucky loser after meeting trouble in running.
Back at Lingfield and Norton jockey Tom Eaves may also be able to enjoy a monster pay-day by figuring on the scoresheet at such a valuable meeting.
Eaves rides Arr' Kid, trained by Keith Dalgleish, who was a facile 12 lengths winner at Southwell last time. This is obviously a more challenging test, but it would be no surprise to see him go well in the 32Red Casino All-Weather Marathon Championships Stakes.
The potentially high-class Ertijaal (2.55), the mount of Paul Hanagan, who won on him here last month, the speedy Stepper Point (4.05), who needs to prove himself as good over six furlongs as he is over the minimum distance, and Robins Hoods Bay (5.20), winner of last month's Winter Derby on this track, are also worthy of attention on a cracking card.
1.45 Grendisar, 2.20 High Time Too, 2.55 Ertijaal, 3.30 Arr’ Kid, 4.05 Stepper Point, 4.40 Frontier Fighter, 5.20 Robin Hoods Bay.
2.10 Mukhmal, 2.40 Heeraat, 3.15 Sirvino (NAP), 3.50 Roachdale House, 4.25 Kalk Bay, 4.55 Red Baron, 5.30 Go Nani Go, 6.00 Naburn.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Bath, Carlisle, Haydock, Kempton, Newton Abbot and Nottingham.