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 to date 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 had a racecourse gallop recently, but he is a 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). The Zoffany colt 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.