The returning L’Homme Presse is the headline act on show among six declarations for the Fitzdares Fleur De Lys Chase worth £165,000.
The 2m6f chase, due off at 3:00pm, is the feature race on an eight-race card at Lingfield Park where there is over £450,000 worth of prize money on offer.
The Venetia Williams-trained Cheltenham Festival winner, L’Homme Presse, has not been seen since sustaining an injury when unseating regular partner Charlie Deutsch in the 2022 King George VI Chase.
The presence of former Betfair Chase winner Protektorat adds further intrigue to this staying contest, after the 9-year-old showed more promising signs when placed at Cheltenham last month.
Kim Bailey won a thrilling renewal of this race in 2022 with Two For Gold, and will be represented by the 153-rated Does He Know, while the consistent Iwilldoit drops back in trip after finishing third in the Coral Welsh National last time out.
Highland Hunter got no further than The Chair in the Becher Chase at Aintree last month. The 11-year-old has been declared by Fergal O’Brien and completes the field of six along with Full Back who is returning from a 434-day absence for local trainer Gary Moore.
The Download The Racing App Now Lightning Novices’ Steeple Chase is a Grade 2 worth £75,000 and is due off at 1:15pm. Venetia Williams also holds the ace in the pack in this event, courtesy of Djelo who goes in search of a four-timer.
The rapidly-improving novice chaser made all in ruthless fashion at Ascot just before Christmas and could book his Cheltenham Festival ticket this weekend.
However, this 2m race does have more depth to it than the aforementioned Ascot contest. The consistent Master Chewy is the highest-rated runner in the field after he posted a career-best to win at Kempton last time. JPR One was an honourable third in the Henry VII Novices’ Chase just over a month ago, while both the hat-trick seeking Pembroke and 6-year-old Matata have shown themselves to be talented performers in this division.
Provided the track passes a 2pm inspection on Saturday, the opening race is due to take place at 12:05pm on Sunday, with the finale due off at 4:10pm.
The track is currently frozen in places, but the weather is set to improve on Saturday.