Classy sprinters Summerghand and Annaf feature among a strong line-up for the six-furlong Listed BetUK Kachy Stakes (2.26pm), part of a double-header of Fast-Track Qualifiers at Lingfield Park on Saturday, 4 February.
Summerghand, a G3 winner on turf, boasts two victories from three appearances at Lingfield, with his only defeat coming after he missed the break in the 2021 Kachy Stakes.
The David O’Meara-trained nine-year-old went on to take the same season’s All-Weather Sprint Championships and looked as good as ever when capturing the Listed BetUK Golden Rose Stakes in November.
Last year’s G3 Chipchase Stakes runner-up Annaf scored on his first Lingfield Park outing on January 14, when he quickened clear for an impressive handicap success. He followed up with another eye-catching display in a Kempton Park conditions race five days later, when he readily scored by two lengths.
The four-year-old’s trainer Mick Appleby also runs King Of Bavaria, who closed strongly to take fourth on his first appearance for the stable in a Southwell handicap on New Year’s Day, having formerly been in the care of Aidan O’Brien.
Mick Appleby said: “Annaf came out of Kempton really well. I have been impressed with him so far this year. He has strengthened up over the winter and looks more of the finished article now.
“We have always thought he was a good horse. He ran a stormer on Finals Day last year to finish fourth and then ran some good races on the turf as well.
“It is more than likely that Saturday will be his final race before Finals Day. Then hopefully he can have a good campaign on the turf afterwards.
“I would not rule out King Of Bavaria either as he has come on a lot from his first start for us at Southwell. He has been working very well and there is not much between them in my book. I would expect him to run a nice race.”
Karl Burke has won the last two renewals of the BetUK Kachy Stakes and the Middleham handler relies on his 2021 victor Exalted Angel, who was third to Summerghand in the BetUK Golden Rose Stakes.
Diligent Harry has course and distance-winning form as well, scoring in the All-Weather Three-Year-Old Championships in 2021. Now five, the Clive Cox-trained sprinter has gone on to place twice at G3 level and was beaten just over four lengths in last season’s G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes.
Other leading contenders include Vadream, a G3 winner for Charlie Fellowes who was sixth in the 2022 G1 British Champions Sprint, and last year’s Listed Hever Sprint victor One Night Stand, who returns from a break for Scott Dixon.
Fivethousandtoone (Andrew Balding), Strong Power (Alice Haynes) and Epsom Faithfull (Pat Phelan) complete the 10 runners aiming for a spot in the £150,000 All-Weather Sprint Championships at Newcastle on Good Friday
Saturday’s second Fast-Track Qualifier is the new Listed Spreadex Sports Tandridge Stakes (3.01pm), which offers a guaranteed place in the £150,000 All-Weather Mile Championships.
A field of six for the mile feature is headed by Group-race winners Sir Busker and Tempus. Sir Busker, who is trained by William Knight, captured last season’s G2 York Stakes before a fine third behind Baaeed in the G1 Juddmonte International on his most recent outing.
Tempus joined Archie Watson in late 2021 and enjoyed an excellent year for the Lambourn trainer, winning G3 races at Salisbury and Deauville before ending his campaign in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
The 116-rated pair are joined by Mums Tipple and Lord Of The Lodge, who re-oppose for Richard Hannon and Karl Burke after finishing first and third in a Wolverhampton conditions race on Boxing Day. Lord Of The Lodge franked the form at Southwell last week when carrying top-weight to victory in a Southwell handicap.
Manaafith, trained by Roger Varian, puts her unbeaten all-weather record on the line, with five wins on an artificial surface including victory in a Fillies And Mares’ Fast-Track Qualifier at Southwell on New Year’s Day. Larado, a game winner of a Newcastle handicap in December for Mick Appleby, rounds out the field.