Ummalnar and Vintager are set for an intriguing clash in the Bombardier Conditions Stakes (5.30pm) at Newcastle tomorrow, Tuesday, January 12, one of two Fast-Track Qualifiers on the card.
The mile Tapeta contest provides the winner with a guaranteed start in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 2.
Ummalnar (William Haggas/Tom Marquand) has a 3lb penalty to contend with following a career best on her latest start. The six-year-old produced the most impressive Fast-Track Qualifier performance of the season so far when slamming Surrounding by six lengths in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cooley Fillies & Mares Stakes at Dundalk on November 13.
Trainer William Haggas said today: “Ummalnar has been fine since her win in Ireland.
“This race fits in well in preparation for Dubai at the end of the month. She is heading out there for the Cape Verdi on January 28.
“Beyond that, I would say it is very possible that she will come back here to run on the All-Weather.
“We will keep all our options open, but it’s definitely Newcastle tomorrow and then Dubai on the 28th.”
Former Godolphin runner Vintager (Simon & Ed Crisford/Jack Mitchell) made a promising start for his current connections when landing a mile conditions race at Chantilly on December 8, his first start for 430 days. The six-year-old enjoyed some big days for Charlie Appleby in 2019, winning a G3 contest at Chantilly and the G2 86th Oettingen-Rennen in Germany.
The five runners also include Count Of Amazonia (Ben Curtis), who is unbeaten in two starts since joining Marco Botti from Richard Hannon. Both of those successes have come on the All-Weather at Chelmsford City, most recently in a class two handicap on December 10.
Born To Be Alive (Karl Burke/Clifford Lee), twice a runner-up at Listed level, returned from a 896-day absence to finish second in an extended nine-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton on December 26.
Trainer Karl Burke said today: “Born To Be Alive is obviously coming back after an injury. He ran well at Wolverhampton albeit in a messy race after Mick Appleby’s horse [Big Country] came down.
“He came to win his race and just blew up really, so he will definitely come on fitness wise, and we have always felt that he is better over a mile rather than a bit further.
“It looks a tough race, but he deserves a crack at it.”
G3 Sovereign Stakes fourth Bless Him (David Simcock/Jamie Spencer), successful in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2017, completes the field.