Lingfield 24th February - Winter Derby

Winter Derby Preview 15:15

The standout race of tomorrow’s Lingfield card is the Betway Winter Derby. The feature race is made all the more intriguing as the market is headed by Aidan O’Brien’s mare Clear Skies. This is O’Brien’s first runner at Lingfield since 2002 years and a horse that had not won a race until November but has since been a revelation on the all-weather at Dundalk, where she has won five of her last six starts in the last three months. The mare is likely to start a warm favourite for the £100,000 Winter Derby not least because of her connections but also as she will be aided by receiving the mares’ weight allowance.

Sir Michael Stoute has the second and third favourites in the race with Autocratic in the Cheveley Park silks and Convey adding a second string to his bow. Meanwhile, fellow Newmarket based trainer, John Gosden is represented by Utmost, who stakes his claim following victory in the Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance three weeks ago.

My personal preference is for Khalidi trained by Clive Cox having recently moved from John Gosden’s yard. A dual listed winner on the turf, the four year old colt was last seen finishing second in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood in August. Currently best priced at 13/2 I think it’s a price worth taking a punt on, especially with top all-weather jockey Adam Kirby booked for the ride.



Hever Sprint Stakes 14:05

Earlier on the card in the five furlong sprint my eye has been drawn to Orvar for Paul Midgley. At time of writing, it’s second favourite, priced at 4/1, I fully expect money to come in for Orvar and it should go off favourite. I’m keen on Midgley’s horse not least because leading all weather jockey Luke Morris is booked but also because he won impressively at Wolverhampton over the same distance two weeks ago and has the opportunity to do so again here.

Interestingly, Robert Cowell has booked top jockey Ryan Moore for the ride on Encore D’Or who is currently best priced at 8/1. This could be worth a little each way money as the horse has won twice previously over course and distance. He comes into this race having returned from a couple of runs in Meydan, meaning he should be fit and ready and should go close especially given his low draw in stall two.

Sam HitchmoughComment