THE national hunt season is winding down, with Aintree and Punchestowns festivals ensuring that it goes out with a bang, but this Saturday eyes will be fixated on the flat and in particular Lingfield Park which hosts The Winter Derby.
An impressive card also has the Spring Cup, and the Sprint Stakes, both of which are listed races, and both are sponsored by sportingbet.
Starting with the Winter Derby, where the standout entry is the Clive Cox trained DANSILI DANCER, who was mightily impressive when winning the listed floodlit stakes at Kempton Park in November in a dead heat with the 1/2 favourite Mastery, the former St Leger winner. The form from the race has worked out very well, with a number of contenders plying their trade at Meydan racecourse in Dubai over the winter. Outsiders for the Kempton race Age of Reason (20/1) and Once More Dubai (25/1) have both been up in class, and both have registered place efforts racing in high profile handicaps there. The deserved favourite is nideeb, trained by Clive Britain in the notorious Saeed Manana colours. He has solid form from last autumn, including winning the Churchill stakes over course and distance, followed by a game second in the Flower Stakes, and could pose a large danger.
The Spring Cup, whilst not having the largest field of runners seen for the renewal, is competitive none the less. Richard Hannon approaches this double handed, and whilst both have solid claims, Dubawi Gold and Vanguard Dream, are both unproven on the surface. Our selection here is the ultra consistent BATHWHICK BEAR for the successful Paul Evans and Richard Evans partnership. He has the advantage of having a run already this season, finishing third at Deauville last week, and should come on for the run.
The last selection will be in the sportingbet.co.uk Supports Hever Sprint Stakes, to give it its full title. The king of sprint races last year was Dandy Nicholls, who cleaned up winning the Stewards Cup with Evens and Odds, as well as Redford under the guidance of Frankie Dettori won the Ayr Gold Cup, and then the Heritage Cup. He runs SILAAH here, who is back from a recent stint in Dubai. He ran three times, running well on all three occasions, the best run being a second behind Green Beret, making all before being caught on the line. He finished 4 lengths sixth of a Goldolphin 1-2 before a 10 lengths defeat of the impressive Bankable in again, a strong field. In his last 5 starts on British all weather tracks, his record is 22211, so clearly thrives on conditions and should go close once more.
Saturday, March 26
All at Lingfield Park
2.00 – Silaah
2.35 Bathwick Bear
3.10 Dansili Dancer