Last season’s All-Weather Horse of the Year Grendisar attempts a second victory in the £40,000 Betway Quebec Stakes (2.35pm, 12 entries) at Lingfield Park this Saturday, December 17.
The Marco Botti-trained son of Invincible Spirit comfortably beat Energia Davos in the 10-furlong Listed contest on Polytrack in 2014 and went down by a neck to Don’t Be in the same race 12 months ago.
Following last year’s narrow defeat, Grendisar completed a hat-trick of wins over the same course and distance, taking the Listed Winter Derby Trial and Group Three Winter Derby before storming to victory in the £200,000 Middle Distance Championship Final on Good Friday.
The six-year-old returned to action over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield Park on November 12, his first start for new owners Middleham Park Racing, when he stayed on strongly to take fourth in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes.
His Newmarket-based trainer Macro Botti commented today: “Grendisar is going to run on Saturday.
“This was the target we had in mind for him since the Churchill Stakes and I think he has come on for that run. He looks well and, based on the entries, he should have a very good chance.
“I wasn’t disappointed with the Churchill Stakes, considering that Grendisar hadn’t run for a while. He is getting a bit older and wiser – last year he got beaten at Chelmsford on his first All-Weather appearance and it took him a couple of runs to start to show his old form.
“He wasn’t beaten far in the Churchill Stakes and, in hindsight, we ended up a bit further back than we wanted to be. But he will be sharper on this occasion and there will be no excuses for him.
“Adam Kirby is banned but Martin Harley has won on Grendisar before and he should be fine.”
Botti is also set to be represented in the Betway Quebec Stakes by four-year-old filly Brandybend, who is due to make her second All-Weather appearance after finishing runner-up on her debut in a 10-furlong Chelmsford City maiden in April, 2015.
The daughter of Galileo, who is out of French 1,000 Guineas winner Elusive Wave, was second in a French Listed race in April and subsequently made four appearances, all at Listed level, including fourth places at Belmont Park, USA, in June and at Bro Park, Sweden on October 16.
Botti added: “Brandybend is also likely to be a runner in the Quebec Stakes. We don’t have many options for her and a mile and a quarter around Lingfield Park might be a bit sharp.
“She has been a little bit frustrating this year, which is a shame. She went to America and didn’t stay the trip (1m 7f 110y) but I think she is capable of picking up a Listed race.
“Whether it is against experienced opposition this Saturday, we will have to wait and see, but horses like Grendisar are proven over the course and distance.
“She has some black type already but ideally we would like some more as she is well bred and has a future value as a broodmare.”
Other entries for the Betway Quebec Stakes include Energia Davos (Jane Chapple-Hyam) who is closely matched with Betway Churchill Stakes runner-up Educate (Ismail Mohammed) plus Battalion (Jamie Osborne), who won by four lengths in a conditions race over the same course and distance on November 30.
Dubawi filly Dubai Fashion (Saeed bin Suroor) came second in a turf Listed race at Doncaster on her latest outing, while Mythical Madness (David O’Meara) could make a quick reappearance after taking a Wolverhampton handicap on December 10.
A seven-race card at Lingfield Park gets underway at 12.15pm and also includes the 12-furlong £19,000 Download The Betway App Handicap (12.50pm, 15 entries) and the £16,500 EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (2.00pm, 8 entries) over a mile.