Dubai Warrior spearheads a potential three-strong team for John Gosden in next month’s Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield.
The Newmarket trainer won the Group Three race with Wissahickon last year, and Dubai Warrior currently heads the betting for this season’s renewal after winning four of his five all-weather outings to date – including the Quebec Stakes before Christmas.
On that occasion, Dubai Warrior beat stablemate Court House – who also features among Gosden’s entry along with Global Giant, a recent transfer from Ed Dunlop’s yard and a winner at the first attempt for his new connections this month.
The Winter Derby is the last of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic on All-Weather Championships Finals Day (April 10) – and a total of 21 horses have been entered.
Master The World took the race for David Elsworth in 2018 – promoted from second by the stewards – and is in the mix again to try to become the first dual winner, having finished sixth of seven last year.
Andrew Balding’s classy Bangkok is another notable contender – along with the Roger Charlton-trained Extra Elusive – while Marco Botti is eager to take up the challenge with Felix, a former Sir Michael Stoute inmate who completed a hat-trick of handicap victories when he produced a good turn of foot for a threequarters-of-a-length success at Lingfield on Wednesday.
Botti said: “Felix won nicely on his first start for us in a class two at Wolverhampton, and myself and the owners felt it was worth putting him in the Winter Derby, just to give us another option.
“He will have to go up a few pounds in the handicap for you to think about the Winter Derby, but he is a lightly-raced horse with a nice pedigree and is definitely open to improvement.”
Ireland’s sole entry is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Numerian, a dual winner at Dundalk in 2019 – with French interest provided by Group Three winner Villa Rosa, from the stable of Chantilly handler Henri-Francois Devin.