A fascinating showdown between high class four-year-olds Bangkok and Dubai Warrior comes to fruition in the £100,000 G3 Betway Winter Derby (3.15pm) at Lingfield Park this Saturday, February 22.
The 10-furlong Polytrack contest, one of the highlights of the All-Weather Championships, is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the course and distance on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 10.
Bangkok (Andrew Balding/Silvestre de Sousa), a G3 scorer on turf, and Dubai Warrior (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) have staked their claim for Betway Winter Derby honours with wide margin victories over the course and distance.
Bangkok made a sparkling All-Weather debut when defeating last year's runner-up Court House (John Gosden/Kieran O'Neill) in the Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial on February 1, while Dubai Warrior also had his stablemate in behind when landing the Listed Betway Quebec Stakes on December 21, his fourth win from five starts on the All-Weather. Bangkok is the 18/25 favourite with Betway, with Dubai Warrior next in at 2/1.
The opposition includes Dalargno (Jane Chapple-Hyam/Ben Curtis), who captured the Listed Prix Lyphard, a Fast-Track Qualifier, at Deauville in November. He has since finished third behind Dubai Warrior and Bangkok in their respective course and distance victories.
The 2018 Betway Winter Derby hero Master The World (David Elsworth/David Probert) is aiming to become the first multiple winner of the race. Now a nine-year-old, he finished fifth behind Bangkok in the Betway Winter Derby Trial, his first start since July.
Pactolus (Stuart Williams/Richard Kingscote), a 12-time winner on the All-Weather, and Entangling (David Elsworth/William Carson) complete the seven contenders.
Lingfield Park's seven-race card also includes the £45,000 Listed Betway Hever Sprint Stakes (2.05pm, eight runners) over five furlongs, in which this season's leading All-Weather sprinter Good Effort (Ismail Mohammed/Ben Curtis) goes for a fourth straight victory.
After plundering a conditions race at Deauville in December, the five-year-old landed a five-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle on January 8 and then posted his best performance to date in the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes at Lingfield Park on February 1.
Progressive filly Hareem Queen (PJ McDonald) finished third, beaten a length, behind Good Effort in the Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle. The daughter of Dark Angel has since captured a five-furlong handicap at Southwell on January 23, her third win from four starts on the Fibresand surface.
Trainer Karl Burke said today: "Hareem Queen is in great form and I am very happy with her.
"I am slightly concerned about the track at Lingfield and whether or not it will play to her strengths.
"We are chasing some black type, so we felt we would give it a go, but the only negative in my mind would be the downhill run of the track.
"She was not beaten far by Good Effort at Newcastle and, looking at Saturday's race, we think we have a good chance of finishing in the first three, provided she handles the track."
The 2017 Betway Hever Sprint Stakes victor Royal Birth (Stuart Williams/Richard Kingscote) is bidding to become the first horse since Arganil (2009 & 2010) to win multiple runnings of the race.
Corinthia Knight (Archie Watson/Luke Morris), who captured the Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship on Finals Day in 2018, and recent Wolverhampton scorer Watchable (David O'Meara/Shane Gray) also run.
Betway Hever Sprint Stakes - Betway prices: 7/4 Good Effort; 9/2 Furious; 6/1 Hareem Queen, Watchable; 8/1 Royal Birth; 11/1 Puds; 14/1 Corinthia Knight; 28/1 Chitra
EW ¼ 1,2
Elsewhere on the card, Agent Of Fortune (Gary Moore/Hector Crouch) aims to become the first horse to win eight races in a single All-Weather Championships season - she lines up in the opening Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap (1.30pm, 12 runners) over 10 furlongs.
Racing runs from 1.30pm to 4.55pm. You can save £5pp on General Admission tickets here.