Betway Winter Derby Trial winner Wissahickon heads 11 five-day confirmations for the £100,000 G3 Betway Winter Derby (3.15pm), highlight of a tremendous card at Lingfield Park on Saturday, February 23.
The 10-furlong Polytrack contest is the final Fast-Track Qualifier of the Middle-Distance category in the All-Weather Championships, with the winner receiving a free and automatic place in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over the same course and distance on Good Friday, April 19.
Wissahickon is 2/5 favourite with Betway and the John Gosden-trained four-year-old is chasing a third straight 10-furlong success at Lingfield Park following impressive Listed victories in the Betway Quebec Stakes on December 22 and Betway Winter Derby Trial on February 2.
The Tapit colt, who is rated 117, is aiming to become the sixth horse to complete the Betway Winter Derby Trial/Betway Winter Derby double following Zanay (2000), Adiemus (2002), Parasol (2003), Eccentric (2005) and Grendisar (2016).
Wissahickon winning the Betway Winter Derby Trial
Newmarket-based Gosden, seeking a first Betway Winter Derby success, is also set to be represented by Court House (14/1 with Betway), who won a 12-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park in January before coming home third in the Betway Winter Derby Trial.
Aidan O'Brien sent over Clear Skies to finish last following a luckless run in the 2018 Betway Winter Derby and Ireland's champion Flat trainer may aim for better fortune this year with Hunting Horn (7/2), who captured the G3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The four-year-old Camelot colt has yet to race on the All-Weather but has run well at G1 level on turf, most notably when finishing third in the Belmont Derby at Belmont Park, USA, in July.
Master The World (8/1) was awarded the 2018 Betway Winter Derby in the stewards' room after suffering interference and the David Elsworth-trained eight-year-old will be bidding to become the first dual winner of the race.
Master The World (left) winning the 2018 Betway Winter Derby
Other leading contenders include Big Country (9/1, Michael Appleby), who may re-oppose Wissahickon for a third time this season having filled the runner-up spot in the Betway Quebec Stakes and Betway Winter Derby Trial.
Hathal (10/1, Jamie Osborne), a G3 winner on turf for previous connections and half-brother to 2007 Winter Derby winner Gentleman's Deal, could return to Pattern company following two decisive wins in conditions races at Wolverhampton, while Matterhorn (20/1, Mark Johnston) has been successful in four of his five All-Weather starts.
Pactolus (33/1, Stuart Williams) also heads into Saturday's contest in excellent form, with the eight-year-old having posted a career-best effort when scoring under top-weight in a handicap, run over the same course and distance as the Betway Winter Derby, on January 23.
Newmarket-based Williams commented: "Pactolus will hopefully run in the Winter Derby and he is very well in himself. You would have to hope Wissahickon treads on a stone this week as everyone else looks as though they are playing for second or third.
"He has been an absolute star for us but it makes it difficult in handicaps off 104. There aren't too many options for him and we made the entry, so we might as well take our chance.
"He will be running off a career-high mark at the age of eight, which is pretty amazing, and he is so versatile - he can go from the front or from the back.
"If you take Wissahickon out, there is not much between the rest of us, so we will do our best and probably head on to Good Friday afterwards."
Betway Winter Derby Trial fourth Chiefofchiefs (33/1, Charlie Fellowes), Goring (33/1, Eve Johnson-Houghton), who filled the same position in the Betway Quebec Stakes, and Breden (66/1, Linda Jewell) complete the confirmations.
Betway Winter Derby, Betway bet:
2/5 Wissahickon; 7/2 Hunting Horn; 8/1 Master The World; 9/1 Big Country; 10/1 Hathal; 14/1 Court House; 20/1 Matterhorn; 33/1 Chiefofchiefs, Goring, Pactolus; 66/1 Breden
Each-Way 1/5 odds - 1, 2, 3
Saturday's seven-race card also features the £45,000 Listed Betway Hever Sprint (2.05pm, nine entries), which could feature the first three home from 2018 - Gracious John (David Evans), Encore D'Or (Robert Cowell) and Tomily (Richard Hannon).
Gorgeous Noora chased home Kachy in the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes and her trainer Archie Watson may also be represented by Corinthia Knight, winner of the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championship on Good Friday last season.
Oh This Is Us (Richard Hannon), twice runner-up in G2 races on turf last year, heads 12 entries for the mile £19,000 Follow Sun Racing Twitter Handicap (3.50pm), a race in which Goring and Matterhorn have also been engaged.