High-class sprinter Annaf is on course to return in the BetUK Kachy Stakes (3.12pm), one of two Listed prizes at Lingfield Park on Sunday, February 4.
Mick Appleby’s five-year-old edged out Diligent Harry in the six-furlong contest last year, although was unable to confirm the form with Clive Cox’s runner as he came home third on Finals Day.
Having also finished third in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, Annaf posted two notable victories in the autumn – taking the Portland Handicap at Doncaster under top weight and Ascot’s G3 Bengough Stakes on his final appearance of 2023.
Appleby said: “Annaf has come back from a break in good order and is ready to go this weekend.
“He is not far off in terms of fitness. He will probably come on a bit as it is his first run for a while, but I would like to think that he will run a decent race and at least be in the first three.
“We were really happy with him last year. He always promised to be a good horse and it was great to see him win a couple of nice races at the backend of the season.
“Hopefully, he can keep progressing because the plan after Lingfield is the Saudi Cup meeting. This run should leave him spot on and I would like to think that he will head out there with a very good chance.”
Diligent Harry is not the only former All-Weather Sprint champion among the entries, with 2021 scorer Summerghand also engaged for David O’Meara.
Willem Twee (James Fanshawe) is already a Listed scorer over the course and distance this season, thanks to his swooping success in November’s BetUK Golden Rose Stakes.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Coachello has enjoyed two successful raids across the Irish Sea this winter, including a seven-furlong handicap victory at Lingfield Park in November.
Other key entries include G3 Pavilion Stakes runner-up The X O (John Ryan) and Ascot handicap victor Badri (Julie Camacho).
Last season’s Listed Burradon Stakes scorer Dear My Friend (Charlie Johnston) tops the contenders for the Listed BetMGM Tandridge Stakes (2.37pm) over a mile.
The four-year-old made an impressive reappearance at Newcastle’s AWC Trials Day on January 1, on what was his first start since undergoing wind surgery and a gelding operation.
Bopedro rounded off a busy 2023 campaign for David O’Meara with two creditable efforts, finishing third in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket and fourth in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day.
Chelmsford scorer Diderot (James Ferguson), who was successful at the track on Good Friday, progressive filly Nine Tenths (William Haggas) and dual Dundalk winner Charlisse (Denis Cullen) are other entries to note.
The feature handicap on the card is the Bet £10 Get £40 At BetMGM Handicap (3.45pm) for three-year-olds, which could feature AWC Trials Day victor Blue Prince (David Evans).