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Wissahickon the star name in Betway Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park on Saturday

20 December 2018


This year's Cambridgeshire winner Wissahickon heads a superb field of seven for the 10-furlong £37,000 Listed Betway Quebec Stakes (2.15pm) on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Saturday, December 22.


The John Gosden-trained three-year-old returns to the All-Weather following a decisive victory in the nine-furlong heritage handicap on turf at Newmarket on September 29 - a performance that saw the progressive Tapit colt allotted an official rating of 117 by the BHA.


Wissahickon, who is partnered by Robert Havlin, has been successful on three of his four All-Weather appearances, including a comfortable Polytrack handicap win at Chelmsford City in August and an eight-length verdict in a conditions race over the same course and distance as the Betway Quebec Stakes in May.


His six rivals on Saturday include turf Listed winner Big Country (Michael Appleby/Luke Morris), who was collared near the line when going down by a neck to Master The World in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes over 10 furlongs at Lingfield Park on November 17.


Mango Tango (Archie Watson/Edward Greatrex) and Scarlet Dragon (Alan King/Martin Harley) also ran well over the course and distance on their latest starts, with a head separating the duo as they fought out a thrilling finish to the Betway Casino Conditions Race on December 5.


Talented dual-purpose performer Scarlet Dragon has twice finished third in G3 races on turf at Newbury this year and was runner-up in the G2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton Park in February.


Owner and syndicate manager Henry Ponsonby said: "Scarlet Dragon is having his third start of the All-Weather Championships, so we hope to get him qualified for Good Friday, and he will be going hurdling again after this weekend.

"Martin Harley suggested we try him without a hood, so he won't be wearing one this time. He never wears one at home and worked very well earlier in the week.

"He ran badly when he last raced without a hood at Newbury last year but that wasn't the reason as he had a wind operation afterwards.


"We are all going to need a turbo-charge to beat Wissahickon at the weights but Scarlet Dragon is very well and we are just hoping for a bit of pace."

Mango Tango (left) and Scarlet Dragon (right) in the Betway Casino Conditions Race on December 5


Goring (Eve Johnson-Houghton/Charles Bishop), who was fourth in the Betway Casino Conditions Race after suffering interference, has gained four victories over a mile at Lingfield Park and was third in the Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championships on Good Friday last season.


Eve Johnson-Houghton commented: "Goring was a bit unlucky on his last start and loves Lingfield - it really suits his style of running.

"He doesn't seem to mind whether it's racing over a mile or a mile and a quarter. Obviously, Wissahickon is the one to beat but Goring goes into the race with a good each-way chance."


The line-up is completed by recent Kempton Park scorer Villette (Dean Ivory/Rob Hornby) and Part Exchange (George Scott/Adam Kirby), a six-length winner over the same course and distance as the Betway Quebec Stakes on her debut in September, 2017.


A seven-race card at Lingfield Park on Saturday gets underway at noon and features the £19,000 Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap (2.50pm). Eight runners go for the 12-furlong contest headed by Lord George (9st 10lb, James Fanshawe/Adam Kirby), who was beaten a nose by Funny Kid in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships in March.


Future Marathon contenders could be on show at Chelmsford City tonight, December 20, with eight three-year-olds due to run in the £50,000 Weatherbys General Stud Book Handicap (8.00pm) over a mile and three-quarters on Polytrack.


Mark Johnston send out Lucky Deal (9st 7lb, John Egan) to capture the totesport.com Galleywood Handicap on November 10, and the son of Mastercraftsman could bid for another valuable handicap success over the course and distance.


Middleham-based Johnston is also responsible for Betway EBF Buccaneer Conditions Race third Victoria Drummond (9st 3lb, Franny Norton), while Aircraft Carrier (9st including 6lb penalty, John Ryan/Martin Harley) is looking to follow up an impressive Wolverhampton handicap victory on December 10.