Al Zaraqaan out to extend unbeaten run in Winter Derby Trial

Al Zaraqaan will bid to enhance his all-weather record of four wins is as many starts in Lingfield’s Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial on Saturday.

Victorious at Newcastle last time out on his first start for new connections, the ex-Shadwell gelding has course form at Lingfield having taken a mile-and-a-half handicap at the track in 2020.

Previously campaigned by William Haggas and now with Archie Watson, the horse has a string of valuable all-weather contests in his sights and will run in stakes company for the first time away from the turf at the weekend.

“He’s unbeaten on the all-weather and he has won at Lingfield before, so it bodes well,” said Simon Turner, director of racing for owners Hambleton Racing.

“Hopefully he’ll be fully effective over this distance, it’s a nice spot to run a horse like him.

“He was only bought at the end of October and we’re already pitching into decent races with him.”

Richard Hannon saddles Fancy Man, with the four-year-old a winner on his sole all-weather start at the track in September when taking a 12-furlong event after second-placed runs in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes and the Winter Hill Stakes, both Group Three contests.

Hannon has since taken the horse to work on Kempton’s Polytrack surface and expects him to be competitive given his high-calibre form on the turf.

Fancy Man in action on the turf at Haydock
Fancy Man in action on the turf at Haydock (David Davies/PA)

“We took Fancy Man and a few others to Kempton on Tuesday for a piece of work and he’s in good order,” he said.

“He has performed well on the surface before and, looking at the race, he should have a leading chance on his best form.”

The Winter Derby is under consideration for the colt’s next assignment, but there could be a trip to the Middle East in the works should he impress.

“Depending on how this weekend goes, he has an entry in the Amir Trophy in Qatar in a couple of weeks and we will have a look at the Betway Winter Derby as well,” said Hannon.

William Knight will be represented by King Of The South, an experienced and consistent all-weather performer who has won his previous three starts.

Those victories were all over longer trips, but the gelding does have form over a mile and a quarter having won twice over the distance.

“He’s not one who ever does too much on the gallops at home, but he’s a lovely, big horse who saves it for his races, which is always the right way round,” said Knight.

“It will be very interesting to see how he fares on Saturday, going back to a mile and a quarter.

“He’s definitely raised his game this winter.”

Rose Of Kildare won the 2020 Musidora Stakes
Rose Of Kildare won the 2020 Musidora Stakes (Dan Abraham/PA)

Mark and Charlie Johnston have two chances in the shape of Living Legend and Rose Of Kildare.

Living Legend was not beaten far when third over 12 furlongs at Lingfield in January, whereas 2020 Musidora Stakes winner Rose Of Kildare returns to the track after a 511-day absence.

Anthony Carson’s Starry Eyes completes the field of six when making her third start for the trainer after leaving the yard of Jane Chapple-Hyam.

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