Lingfield Park: 2023 Winter Derby Plays
Lingfield’s left-handed all-weather track is laid out inside the turf track and, measuring just less than a mile and a quarter round, is essentially sharp in nature. This, along with how the races often pan out, ensures that stamina is rarely at a premium, and strong-traveling types with a turn of foot are often favored. For nearly half its length, the round course is flat, then rising to the summit of a slight hill after which there is a downhill turn to the straight.
Winter Derby Day Tips and Picks by Timeform
- Race 1
- Forge Valley Lad
- Later Darling
- Race 2
- Alligator Alley
- Miss Nay Never
- Tone the Barone
- Race 3
- Lord North
- Tyrrhenian Sea
- Forest of Dean
- Race 4
- Security Code
- Notre Belle Bete
- Race 5
- Garrick Street
- Bear On the Loose
- Race 6
- Soaring Eagle
- Crimson Angel
- Race 7
- Bashful Boy
- Minister For Magic
- Smart Champion
- Race 8
- Marion's Boy
- Cresta De Vega
Lingfield Racing Analysis & Expert Picks
EXALTED ANGEL can claim his reward for a string of solid performances in defeat this winter by taking an average renewal of the Hever Sprint S. at Lingfield on Saturday.
Karl Burke’s decision to reach for the first-time visor can give the seven-year-old that vital edge in the £45,000 added five-furlong feature.
He ran as well as ever to finish within three-parts of a length of sprint sensation Annaf in the Listed Kachy S. over six furlongs at this track earlier in the month after making the frame in the Listed Golden Rose and two other top races this winter.
Winner of the Kachy and a short-head second in the Sprint Final at this track in 2021, Exalted Angel is well drawn to stalk the pace in stall 5 and confirm his superiority over Alligator Alley and Tone The Barone in a Fast Track Qualifier over five furlongs at Newcastle in December.
The improver in the pack is John Quinn’s trailblazing mare Miss Nay Never, who has taken her form to new levels this winter and has elevated her status to 99 following a dynamic display at Chelmsford City. However, the widest draw in stall 10 has compromised her prospects in this higher grade.
Lord North, who was beaten by Alenquer in last year’s renewal, will become the highest rated winner in the 26-year history of the race if he can overcome his seven rivals, including Gosden’s 2021 winner Forest Of Dean. Just as it was 12 months ago, the 10-furlong showpiece – a Fast Track Qualifier for the Easter Classic on Good Friday - will be a ‘prep’ run for another crack at the Dubai Turf (G1) on World Cup night.
Forest Of Dean showed he’s no back number when emerging from a spell in the doldrums to win another qualifier at Newcastle. That slowly run contest fell in his lap, but attempting to out-do his stable companion off a 13lb lower mark poses a bigger question.
The Gosdens also run the reliable Harrovian who has been placed in the last two runnings of the Listed Churchill S. over course and distance but couldn’t capitalize from the front in that muddling race at Newcastle last time, finding no answer to Forest Of Dean’s superior turn of foot.
It’s too early to write off Roger Varian’s Tyrrhenian Sea on his first start on the all-weather since failing to justify a short price in last season’s Easter Classic. His three wins on synthetics have all been registered at Newcastle, so he has to prove himself on this tight, turning track.
Lucander elevated his rating to 106 after winning a local Group 2 in Bahrain for George Baker last week but came up short in handicaps in this country last summer and needs to improve to get involved.
It’s easy to say this is Lord North’s race to lose, because of his overwhelming power compared to the opposition, but equally it’s hard to row in big with him at odds-on knowing that, like last year, it’s his warm-up after a lay-off for Dubai, especially as Lingfield is a pretty unforgiving track for any ring-rustiness. Tyrrhenian Sea makes most sense as an alternative, but at the odds – as big as 18-1 on the opening show – FOX TALES is too tempting for me to resist, given that he’s comfortably the second-best horse in here on his old form and the hope that the new factors for him – chiefly being gelded – act as a catalyst for a comeback.
Horse by Horse Closing Thoughts:
Forest of Dean - "There are horses at bigger prices just as likely as Forest of Dean to reach the podium."
Harrovian - "Harrovian made the running at Newcastle, and maybe he’ll ensure a good gallop in order to take tactics out of the race and make class count, to the benefit of Lord North."
Foxes Tales - "He’s interesting because of his back-class in tandem with the potentially reinvigorating variables in play."
King of the South - "Unless they go hard, which appears improbable looking at the line-up, it’s difficult to see King Of The South playing much of a part."
Lord North - "The probability is that Lord North wins, but is it an odds-on probability, when it’s not his main target, after a long lay-off? I’ll pass."
Tyrrhenian Sea - "The unknown qualities of Tyrrhenian Sea mark him out from the crowd,
in a positive way, and he’s perhaps the likeliest to stand up if Lord North falls short for fitness."
Lucander - "His schedule inevitably raises some doubts to the likelihood of seeing a full-power
version of Lucander, given a lot of travelling and little recovery time. Furthermore, he’s not accustomed to all-weather racing, having done it only once before (back in 2019)."
Pistoletto - "Way out of his depth."
Danny Muscutt can register another significant win in his pursuit of the jockeys’ championship when he partners DIDEROT in the this handicap at Lingfield.
James Ferguson’s gelding made a pleasing return to action after a lengthy break in a good one-mile handicap at Southwell last month and proved his effectiveness on this sharper track when only just failing to win a hot handicap at last year’s Winter Million Festival.
Diderot was also smart enough to finish within half a length of the 113-rated My Oberon in a Fast Track Qualifier conditions stakes at Southwell last winter and remains well treated on a mark of 95. Indeed, victory here could put him in contention for a crack at the Mile Final on Good Friday, which is shaping up to be an open race.
The obvious danger is John and Thady Gosden’s sparely campaigned Security Code, who hasn’t seen the racetrack in 10 months after only just failing to deny a penalty for his debut success in a Yarmouth novice last spring. He could be well treated off 90 on this handicap debut but has something to prove for a horse likely to be sent off at skinny odds.