Robert Havlin is relishing the opportunity to be reunited with Wissahickon in the Betway Quebec Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday.
Havlin steered the John Gosden-trained three-year-old to win over this course and distance and land a valuable York handicap in the spring, since which Frankie Dettori has taken over in the saddle.
The Tapit colt was last seen running out a dominant winner of the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket and he will be a hot favourite to follow up on his return to the all-weather in this Listed contest.
“Obviously, he’s the form horse in the race – top-rated – and I hope he’ll get a nice clean run round and can win,” Havlin told At The Races.
“That (Winter Derby) is the plan. He’s won three times on synthetics, so we know he handles the surface.
“He’s actually a course and distance winner at Lingfield as well, so we’re not too frightened about that.
“I know Frankie came from a long way back in the Cambridgeshire, but I don’t think we’ll be trying to be as patient as that on Saturday.
“Let’s hope things go to plan.”
Owner Henry Ponsonby is under no illusions about the task facing Scarlet Dragon, who is rated 11lb inferior to Wissahickon and yet has to give him 2lb on Saturday.
Alan King’s inmate was last seen going down by a head to Mango Tango – who reopposes this weekend.
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, because 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.”
Eve Johnson Houghton is looking forward to saddling Goring, who finished fourth behind Mango Tango, Scarlet Dragon and former Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Toast Of New York over the course and distance less than three weeks ago.
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.
“Goring was a bit unlucky on his last start and loves Lingfield – it really suits his style of running,” said the trainer.
“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.”
Mick Appleby’s Big Country, the George Scott-trained Part Exchange and Villette from Dean Ivory’s yard complete the seven-strong field.