Felix and Forest Of Dean head seven remaining entries for the G3 Betway Winter Derby (2.40pm) over 10 furlongs at Lingfield Park on Saturday, February 27.
The duo met for a second time this winter in the Listed Betway Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance on February 6, when they were separated by a head in second and third behind Bangkok.
Felix previously had the measure of Bangkok and Forest Of Dean in another tight finish to a conditions race at Wolverhampton on January 11.
Marco Botti’s charge is the 2/1 favourite with Betway, with Forest Of Dean next in at 3/1 to give trainer John Gosden a third consecutive Betway Winter Derby success.
Botti, who landed the spoils in 2016 with Grendisar, said today: “Everything has gone smoothly – Felix did a piece of work on Saturday and I don’t think we could have him in better form.
“Even in defeat, we were pleased with his performance in the Winter Derby Trial. It was a tactical affair and Bangkok was probably in the right place. Felix obviously beat Bangkok at Wolverhampton before that and it was nice to show that run wasn’t a fluke.
“It gives you a bit of confidence heading into the Winter Derby itself and a replication of that form should give him every chance.”
Kingman colt Father Of Jazz is the unknown quantity after winning all three of his starts for Roger Varian, most recently making light work of the opposition in a course and distance handicap on February 5.
Varian said today: “We are very pleased with Father Of Jazz and, as long as I am happy with him later in the week, we have left him in with the intention to run.
“He is a nice, progressive horse who is rated 101 now – and in my opinion it does not look like he would be out of place in a race like this.
“He obviously lacks a bit of experience compared to the opposition, but I don’t think he lacks the quality.”
Palavecino (Brian Meehan) and Johnny Drama (Andrew Balding) have been off the track since finishing fourth and fifth respectively behind Sangarius in a strong edition of the Listed Betway Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park in December.
G2 scorer Vintager (Simon & Ed Crisford) and Power Of States (Hugo Palmer), who has won five handicaps on the All-Weather since the beginning of October, have also been left in.
The Betway Winter Derby is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Betway PR Manager Chad Yeomans: “A small but select field have been left in the Betway Winter Derby including Felix, who was runner-up in the Betway Winter Derby Trial three weeks ago and is currently our 2/1 favourite for Saturday’s Group 3 contest.
“Father Of Jazz is a really exciting addition to the race. He’s now three from three since joining Roger Varian and the most recent of those three successes came over course and distance where he was very impressive.”
Betway Winter Derby - Betway prices:
3/1 Forest Of Dean
7/2 Father Of Jazz
6/1 Johnny Drama
10/1 Palavecino, Power Of States
Lingfield Park’s eight-race programme also includes the Listed Betway Hever Sprint (2.05pm) over five furlongs, with G1 Nunthorpe Stakes third Moss Gill (Edward Bethell) headlining the 11 entries.