The all-weather action really starts heating-up now as it builds to the All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday, and Saturday 4th January sees the 2017 Winter Derby Trial take place at Lingfield (3.05). This 10-furlong Listed Race is the premier trial for the Group-3 Winter Derby, and four horses have done the double, though last year’s winner Grendisar was the first since 2005.
Grendisar has won the last two renewals, making it 5 wins in the last 8 for trainer Marco Botti, with Adam Kirby riding 2 of the last 4 winners.
8 runners are set to go to post for the 2017 Winter Derby Trial.
This dual Group-3 Winner has to carry a 5lb Penalty, though a 111-day absence from the track isn’t that worrying considering he’s twice won on his seasonal debut. More worrying is the fact he’s won his last 4 races over 12-furlongs, though has won twice at 10-furlongs, and is 2 from 2 on the all-weather although both those runs were at Kempton. Ryan Moore takes the ride.
Trainer Roger Charlton has been in good form this week, but a 205 day absence is a little concerning for a horse that hasn’t won on seasonal debut. Is a Group-3 winner though over 9-furlongs, and shapes as if he’ll get 10-furlongs, though this is his first attempt.
Never looked the hardiest of horses when with William Haggas, but seems to have turned over a new leaf in two runs for Jamir Osbourne. Put both those races to bed with a decent turn of foot, and has always been suited by single-figure fields. Beat Grendisar last-time by 2-lengths, though did get first run.
Won off 84 and 91 in December, but also beaten off 87 and 93 in between, and this is a tough ask against horses rated 20lb better than him.
Bidding for a hat-trick in the race as he builds-up to defending his Winter Derby crown and, after taking two runs to reach his peak last winter, he should be at his beat here. He’s also 3lb better off with Battalion on their running last-time, but he’s not sure to get the strong-pace he likes.
Last win came off 97 at Wolverhampton, and not at his best only previous try at Lingfield. Plenty to find at the weights, too, and unlikely winner.
Finished behind both Mythical Madness and Forceful Appeal last-time, and shouldn’t be winning on that form.
Rated higher at his best but, despite winning a Conditions Stakes in January 2016, he’s generally looked in decline since.
2017 Winter Derby Trial Preview
A fascinating 8-runner renewal, with Grendisar bidding for a hat-trick in the race. Meanwhile, the trip may be a worry for Arab Spring whose best form is over 12-furlongs, whilst Decorated Knight could have the pace to take advantage of a slowly run race if fully wound-up after over 200-days off. However Battalion, who likes the track, could be the value to prove that he’s improved since joining Jamie Osbourne.
2017 Winter Derby Trial Tip
Battalion Each-Way @ 9/2 Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes