Lucky Deal is likely to have another run before heading for the Betway Marathon at Lingfield on Good Friday.
The six-year-old, trained by Mark Johnston, put himself in the picture for all-weather championship finals day with a clear-cut success at Kempton – scoring for the second time since returning from 15 months on the sidelines.
“He had an injury earlier last year and had a long break and was gelded during that time off, so we set out to run him on the all-weather because he had been off for so long,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.
“Now that he has won twice, and we’d presume his rating will creep over 100 when he gets reassessed next week, I think we will be starting to think about all-weather finals day.
“The trip and conditions are all ideal for him. It normally takes a figure towards 110 to win the final, so he’d have to improve a bit more, but he’s going the right way.
“He had just a fortnight between his last two races, so he takes his races pretty well (and) we wouldn’t be giving him a three-month break before the final. He’ll run at some point.”
Mildenberger and Watersmeet are others from the Johnston stable who may be in the frame for the Marathon.
The former could reappear in a fast-track qualifier at Wolverhampton on January 18.
“There’s a fast-track qualifier in about 10 days – Mildenberger will be going there. We’d be looking to get him qualified.”
Watersmeet has been out through injury since May 2019, a month after he won the Marathon final when running fifth behind Lucky Deal at Haydock, but he is back in training.
“He’s back in work, and the aim is to see him in the next couple of months,” said Johnston.
“It’s early days and a lot of hurdles to jump before we get to that stage, but the dream would be to have him heading towards to those races at some point later in the winter.
“He had a long time off with a leg injury, and when he came back the first time it flared up again, so we had to give him another period of time off. He’s been off for over 18 months now, and he’s the ripe old age of 10.
“We’ll have to see if he still retains the ability and enthusiasm for it. He’s been cantering for a couple of weeks now, and everything has been good in the early stages of his comeback.”