Exciting four-year-old Wissahickon (pictured below) headlines a very strong set of entries for the £100,000 G3 Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield Park on Saturday, February 23, details of which are revealed today.
As well as being one of the highlights of the All-Weather Championships, the 10-furlong Polytrack contest is the last of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the same distance at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.
Wissahickon, trained by John Gosden in Newmarket is the Evens favourite for the Betway Winter Derby with the sponsor after winning five of his six starts in 2018.
The Tapit colt started off his career with three races on the All-Weather, winning a Wolverhampton novice on Taptea by a nose in October, 2017, finishing second on Polytrack at Chelmsford City the following month and then, after a break, being the easy victor of a 10-furlong Lingfield Park novice race in May, 2018.
Wissahickon, owned and bred by George Strawbridge, rounded off his summer campaign with an impressive three and three-quarter length victory in the prestigious nine-furlong Cambridgeshire Handicap on turf at Newmarket in September.
The 117-rated performer has since doubled his tally at Lingfield Park with a second course and distance success in the Listed Betway Quebec Stakes on December 22, in which he defeated Big Country (Mick Appleby, 8/1 with Betway) decisively by two and a quarter lengths.
Wissahickon is joined by a stable companion, four-year-old Dawn Approach colt Court House (8/1), who caught the eye when taking a 12-furlong conditions race by four and a half lengths at Lingfield Park on January 9 for owner HRH Princess Haya of Jordan, as Gosden seeks his first Betway Winter Derby triumph.
The Coolmore axis of Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith is represented by four-year-old Camelot colt Hunting Horn (Aidan O'Brien IRE, 11/4), one of two Irish-trained entries, who recorded an impressive four and a half-length verdict in the 2018 G3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot, and ran in five Group or Grade One races in Europe and America in 2018, finishing third in one of them.
Last year's Betway Winter Derby hero Master The World (7/1) is one three entries for trainer David Elsworth. The eight-year-old continued his excellent record at Lingfield Park with a neck victory over Big Country in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes, also a Fast-Track Qualifier, on November 17. No horse has won the Betway Winter Derby more than once.
The Elsworth contenders also include Dash Of Spice (8/1), winner of the 2018 Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot, and Listed runner-up Main Street (33/1), unbeaten in two starts on the All-Weather, who has joined the Newmarket stable from Gosden's yard in the same town.
Robin Of Navan (7/1) is the one G1 winner among the entries, thanks to his victory in the 2015 Criterium de Saint-Cloud during his two-year-old campaign. Since then, the six-year-old has finished second in G1 prizes in Italy and France, with his most recent success coming in the G3 La Coupe at Chantilly in 2017.
Trainer Harry Dunlop, based in Lambourn, reported: "We have given Robin Of Navan a nice winter break, as we he was quite busy last year, and he seems in good form.
"We are looking to go abroad with him and we felt the Betway Winter Derby would be a nice starting point.
"We have been encouraged to go to Australia for the Sydney Carnival, which is something we will certainly consider.
"There are lots of options here as well, including in France where he has done very well before."
Eight-year-old Toast Of New York (Jamie Osborne, 20/1) is another with form at the highest level, headlined by his memorable second on dirt in the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, USA, in 2014.
Having missed three years of racing, Toast Of New York returned to the track in December, 2017, and was last seen out when a close third behind Mango Tango (Archie Watson, 22/1) and Scarlet Dragon (Alan King, 10/1) in the Betway Casino Conditions Race at Lingfield Park on December 5.
Lambourn trainer Jamie Osborne's two entries are completed by G3 winner Hathal (7/1), who returned to the winner's enclosure with a convincing success in a conditions race at Wolverhampton on January 7.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby captured the Betway Winter Derby with Tryster in 2015 and could bid to repeat the feat with the lightly-raced five-year-old Boynton (5/2), winner of the G2 Superlative Stakes in 2016 as a two-year-old and successful on his dirt debut in a mile handicap at Meydan in February, 2018. He has not raced since March, 2018.
Other notable entries include Dundalk Listed scorer Global Giant (Ed Dunlop, 8/1), the remaining Irish-trained entry Ming (Joseph O'Brien IRE, 8/1) and French challenger In The Lope (Pia Brandt FR, 20/1), who finished fourth in the 2017 Listed Betway Churchill Stakes on his only previous visit to Lingfield Park.
There is a scratchings' deadline for the Betway Winter Derby at noon on Tuesday, February 5.
You can get your hands on tickets for The Winter Derby HERE.