Lingfield’s Winter Derby to go the way of course and distance lover

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Aside from All-Weather Championship Finals Day, few meetings light up the artificial surfaces quite like Winter Derby day at Lingfield.

Some of the best polytrack performers will line up on Saturday to duke it out for the Group 3 prize.

One horse that will be more familiar with his surroundings than most is Marco Botti’s Grendisar.

The 10 furlong course at the Surrey track has been a scene of some of the six-year-old’s best performances, although he has missed out on the top prizes more than connections would have liked.

However at 7/2 there appears no better time to back the son of Invincible Spirit to land his first Group race success at a track that he excels on.

His record over one-mile-two-furlongs at Lingfield reads 211123221, which suggests backers will be getting a good run for their money regardless of whether he gets his head in front.

A closer look at some of those defeats show the horse in a better light. The two most recent runner-up performances saw traffic problems in the latter stages meaning Adam Kirby had to settle for second-place on the eight-time winner.

Prior to that, a third in the Easter Classic and another second in this race 12 months ago came behind the exciting Tryster who has gone on to win the Group 3 Dubai Millenium Stakes at Meydan.

Grendisar (right) was unfortunate to bump into Tryster last year

Grendisar (right) was unfortunate to bump into Tryster last year

There is unlikely to be anything of his quality in this year’s field, though Grendisar’s biggest threat undoubtedly comes in the same all-blue colours of Godolphin.

Favourite for the contest, Festive Fare (3/1), is closely matched with the selection having finished just half-a-length behind in the trial race over course and distance three weeks ago.

He took a while to hit top speed that day, and was unable to peg the leader back, and must be respected as a huge player if he can click into gear a bit faster.

Nevertheless, the consistency of Grendisar means there looks no better bet than Botti’s star landing the big prize that he deserves.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.