With the unmistakable feeling of spring in the air and the Classic trials just around the corner, fans of the Flat have plenty to entertain them over the next two weekends when Lingfield hosts its most prestigious all-weather card followed seven days later by the Dubai World Cup meeting.
The Group 3 Winter Derby is the headline race at Lingfield on Saturday with Chris Wall’s multiple Group 2 winner Premio Loco heading the betting and aiming to kick off his eight-year-old season in style. The son of Kris S stallion Prized has been a tremendous flagbearer for Wall’s Newmarket stable, winning 12 of his 31 races – seven at stakes level – and amazing more than £500,000 in prize-money.
He faces some tough opposition, with the Richard Hannon-trained Cai Shen having been the subject of a mid-week betting splurge, and the improving Junoob, winner last time out of the Winter Derby Trial, among his 13 rivals.
Two Listed races support the Winter Derby, with the three-year-olds having a chance to gain some early-season black type in the Spring Cup over seven furlongs. The Mark Johnston-trained Bannock and Highclere Racing’s Gusto, both Listed winners as juveniles, are the two top-rated runners in the field.
Arguably the most exciting runner set to appear at Lingfield on Satuday is Borderlescott, who make his comeback in the Hever Sprint Stakes after nine months off the track through injury. The dual Nunthorpe winner, who turned ten this year, is to be ridden by Ryan Moore.