Group 1 runner-up Almodovar reappears in a classy renewal of the £40,000 Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes (6.55pm) at Kempton Park on Wednesday, November 18, with seven of the 11 runners rated 102 or higher.
The mile Polytrack contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier and provides the winner a guaranteed start in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Almodovar (Andrea Atzeni) has his first start for Lambourn handler Ed Walker, having not raced since finishing second to Recoletos in the G1 Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp in May 2018, when trained by Roger Charlton.
Bjorn Nielsen’s homebred, now an eight-year-old, won an 11-furlong handicap impressively at Kempton Park on his only All-Weather appearance before going on to finish third in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016.
Walker said today: “Almodovar has kind of ended up here by accident really, having not taken to retirement too well.
“He was obviously a very good horse in his day, and we started him back earlier in the year. Brian O’Rourke [pre-trainer] had him for a long time and he started showing him a bit.
“He has had a racecourse gallop recently, but he is massive horse and there is no doubt he will need the run after such a long time off.
“Hopefully, he comes out of Wednesday in one piece and then we can take it from there.”
The highly regarded Kinross (Ralph Beckett/Richard Kingscote) was not beaten far in G1 company earlier in the campaign, finishing sixth and eighth respectively in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville. He reportedly lost his action when last in a Listed event at Newbury on September 18.
Khuzaam (Roger Varian/Jim Crowley) has been off the track since going down by a short head to Set Piece in this race 12 months ago. The four-year-old won his two previous starts over the course and distance impressively.
William Haggas, who landed the spoils in 2017 with Second Thought, saddles progressive three-year-old Johan (Tom Marquand). He looked as good as ever on his latest start when landing a class two handicap from the front at Chelmsford City on October 15.
1000 Guineas fifth Romsey (Hughie Morrison/Ryan Moore) is one of three fillies/mares in the field and aims to back up a good fourth in the Listed Ladbrokes EBF Fleur De Lys Fillies' Stakes at Lingfield Park on October 29.
The fairer sex are also represented by Hateya (Jim Boyle/Charlie Bennett), the winner of a Listed contest on turf at Sweden’s Bro Park in September, and Cry Havoc (Rae Guest/Rob Hornby), who has not been out of the two in five starts on the All-Weather.
Lord Rapscallion (Sean Levey) has his first start for Stuart Williams since being bought of Johnny Murtagh’s stable, while Williams’ former inmate Via Serendipity (Charlie Fellowes/Hayley Turner) tries to better his fifth-place finish from last year.
The 11 runners are completed by Marshal Dan (Heather Main/Martin Dwyer), successful on turf at Musselburgh last time out, and lightly raced three-year-old Imrahor (Hugo Palmer/James Doyle).
Later on the card, Betfair November Handicap scorer On To Victory (Alan King/James Doyle) bids to defy top weight in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap (7.25pm, nine runners) over two miles.
About the All-Weather Championships
Season eight of the All-Weather Championships runs from Tuesday, October 20, 2020 and culminates with All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 at Lingfield Park.
The six championship categories are:
Three-Year-Olds sponsored by Ladbrokes - 6f Final
Fillies & Mares sponsored by Ladbrokes - 7f Final
Mile sponsored by Bombardier - 1m Final
Sprint sponsored by Betway - 6f Final
Marathon sponsored by Betway - 2m Final
Middle Distance sponsored Betway - 10f Final
There are two ways for horses to qualify for one of the finals on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park:
* A horse can win a 'Fast Track Qualifier' race which will ensure a FREE and GUARANTEED place in the corresponding final on Good Friday. There are four Fast Track Qualifiers in each of the six Championship Categories hosted at racecourses in Great Britain, Ireland and France. If a filly wins any of the Fast-Track Qualifier races for either the Sprint or the Mile categories, the filly will be qualified for the final of that specific category, or for the Fillies and Mares Final.
* A horse must run a minimum of three times on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland and France; or twice on the All-Weather surfaces in Great Britain, Ireland, France and once on dirt in Dubai during the qualifying period between October 20, 2020 and the six-day entry stage for the finals (Saturday, March 28, 2021) and then be rated high enough to 'make the cut' in a final by order of its BHA Rating.
For details of the 24 Fast-Track Qualifiers, please click here: https://www.awchampionships.co.uk/take-part/fast-track-qualifier-dates/
In addition, prizes will be awarded to each of the All-Weather Champions - the 'All Stars' - based on the number of winners at the end of the All-Weather Championships season:
- Champion All-Weather Jockey (winner and runner up)
- Champion All-Weather Apprentice Jockey (winner and runner up)
- Champion All-Weather Trainer
- Champion All-Weather Owner
- Winning Most All-Weather Horse
For more information on the All-Weather Championships, please visit www.awchampionships.co.uk