The Group Three Coral Winter Derby
(3.20pm, 14 confirmations) is the highlight of what should prove an informative card at Lingfield Park this Saturday 27th February.
Run over 10 furlongs, the £100,000 contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic over the same course and distance on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, 25th March.
Godolphin could be three-handed in Coral Winter Derby with Festive Fare (Charlie Appleby), plus the John Gosden-trained pair of Maverick Wave and Tempus Temporis all going forward.
Festive Fare went down by half a length to Grendisar (Marco Botti) in the Listed coral.co.uk Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield Park on 6th February, a race in which Watersmeet (Mark Johnston) finished fifth and Complicit (Paul Cole) sixth.
Grendisar has won five times on the Polytrack surface at Lingfield Park and also run some excellent races in defeat, most notably when the three-quarter length runner-up in last year’s Coral Winter Derby and when third in the 2015 Coral Easter Classic.
Newmarket-based Botti commented: “It is all systems go for Grendisar ahead of the Coral Winter Derby.
“I am very happy with him. He worked at the weekend and it was a very encouraging piece of work. He seems in great form.
“We are looking forward to Saturday. He really loves Lingfield.”
John Gosden has also left in Furia Cruzada, a three-time Group One winner in South America who has yet to start in Britain, while Mark Johnston could also be represented by Fire Fighting, a Listed winner on the Polytrack surfaces at Kempton Park and Dundalk.
William Haggas has two interesting contenders with Battalion, a dual Listed scorer, and Our Channel, who returned to form when taking a 10-furlong handicap at Chelmsford City in January in impressive fashion.
Other interesting contenders include Energia Davos (Jane Chapple-Hyam), successful in the Group Three Darley Stakes at Newmarket last season, and Tullius (Andrew Balding), a dual Group Two winner on turf.