Stargazer bids to enhance his excellent record at Newcastle in Saturday’s Betway Conditions Stakes.
In seven previous visits to Gosforth Park, Phil Kirby’s charge has won twice – including in this Fast-Track Qualifier two years ago – and been placed on the other five occasions.
The seven-year-old was last seen finishing third in a mile and a half handicap at the track last month and will earn himself a guaranteed start in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship at Lingfield on Good Friday with victory this weekend.
Kirby said: “We were a little disappointed with the way Stargazer travelled last time. I know it was a mile and a half, but he wasn’t ever really in the race and probably did quite well to finish third in the end.
“That run just leaves a slight question mark because he has been grand since. The plan was always to go there to get him ready for this race back over two miles, because he is more of a two-miler.
“He seems to enjoy the two miles at Newcastle; I think because they tend to hack around for a mile and a half and then he does have a turn of foot. He switches off and you can just ride a race up the straight.
“He should be competitive again provided he gives his running, even if he is a bit wrong at the weights.”
A classy field of 10 has assembled for the £19,000 contest, including last year’s first and third Raymond Tusk and Mildenberger, trained by Richard Hannon and Mark Johnston respectively.
Alan King saddles both Rainbow Dreamer and Who Dares Wins, winner of the Northumberland Plate over the course and distance in 2019 and the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this year.
Australis (Roger Varian), Island Brave (Heather Main), Carnwennan (Charlie Fellowes) and Jim Goldie’s pair of Tannadice Park and Tara Kay complete the line-up.