Dubai Warrior begins his All-Weather Championships campaign in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes at Lingfield.
Trained by John Gosden, Dubai Warrior won all three of his starts during last season’s championships, including dominant victories over Saturday’s course and distance in the Listed Quebec Stakes in December and the Group Three Winter Derby in February.
Beaten just once in his six starts on the all-weather, the Dansili colt has been off the track since finishing fifth in a Listed race at Sandown in July.
William Haggas’ Sinjaari is aiming to bounce back from a below-par performance in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket in September.
The four-year-old had previously come with a storming run to land the John Smith’s Cup at York in July.
“We’ve got a few ideas for where he could end up,” Haggas told Sky Sports Racing.
“He could stay on the all-weather, go to Dubai or even go to Australia, a lot depends on what happens in this, if he wins he could stay for the Finals.
“He had no chance in the Cambridgeshire from his draw. He has a lot to find with the favourite but who knows what might happen.”
Palavecino made great strides during the summer for Brian Meehan, landing three handicaps in four starts, and took another step forward last time out when second in the Listed Floodlit Stakes over 12 furlongs at Kempton this month.
Meehan said: “Palavecino is in very good form after a great run in the Floodlit.
“He has been a big improver this season – and in fairness, we have always felt that he could be up to this sort of level, even at the beginning of the year.
“It will be interesting to see how gets on this weekend, because I think the 10 furlongs around Lingfield is absolutely perfect for him.”
Sir Michael Stoute’s Japanese-bred colt Satono Japan, a son of Deep Impact out of dual Group One winner Dubawi Heights, is the least exposed runner in the field.
He looked a useful prospect when scoring on debut at Kempton in October last year, but his only start since came when third in a novice race at Wolverhampton last month.
Golden Lips, runner-up in the Listed Lingfield Park Oaks Trial for Harry Dunlop in June, completes the five runners.
The other fast-track qualifier on the card, the Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes over six furlongs, throws up an exciting clash between Julie Camacho’s Judicial and Good Effort, for Ismail Mohammed.
Judicial landed the spoils last year with a devastating turn of foot and has gone on to further success in the Group Three Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle in June and a Listed race at Chester in August.
Steve Brown, assistant to his wife, said: “He came to us with a reputation of being difficult to handle, but he’s turned out really well – most years he’s managed to win a nice race.
“He’s still relatively lightly-raced. He’s had 40 races as an eight-year-old, and he’s become much easier to manage.
“For the better horses there are fewer opportunities, which means you can’t really over-race them.
“I think he’s been as good as ever this year. The Lingfield race opened up more options – it proved he stayed six furlongs, and from there we’ve almost campaigned him over six, which at this stage of his life has given him a new lease.
“He’s in good form – we’re slightly better drawn this year, there’s lots of pace, which always pleases me, and the decision to come here was made easier when October was so wet. I do think it’s a stronger race this year, though, and he has a bit more on his plate.”
Good Effort is on a roll after winning his last four starts on the all-weather. He won the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes over the course and distance in February and was too good for his rivals on his reappearance last time out in a five-furlong handicap, also at Lingfield.
Godolphin’s On The Warpath drops back to six furlongs for the first time since running away with a valuable handicap at Newmarket in May last year, in which he defeated the classy Summerghand by three lengths.
Ed Walker’s Sunday Star and Stoute’s Jovial clash again after filling the places behind Jouska in a six-furlong Listed race at Newmarket.
The highly-regarded Lampang, from Tim Easterby’s yard, Soldier’s Minute, for Keith Dalgleish, and last year’s runner-up Tinto (Amanda Perrett) are other interesting contenders.