William Haggas has no serious stamina concerns about Sooraah when she tackles a mile and a quarter for the first time in the Blue Square Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday.
All of the five-year-old mare’s four wins have come over a mile, but she was staying on strongly at the end of that distance when second to Clinical in a Listed contest over this course in October.
Sooraah is also race fit from a spell in Dubai, having only returned to Britain earlier this month.
“She seems all right. It’s her first time at a mile and a quarter, but the way she races I think she should be all right on that track,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“She’s fine and is in good form.”
Cai Shen has been the subject of wholesale gamble during the week and connections of the Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old feel he has the ability to overcome a wide draw.
“Cai Shen won first time out at Newbury last season, so we know that he comes to hand early and he has been in good form at home,” said the trainer’s son and assistant, Richard Hannon jnr.
“He is never the most extravagant worker on the gallops in the morning, but he comes alive on the track and improved 15lb last year, ending up by making all (of the running) at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting.
“The worry would be the draw as he is out in the cheap seats in stall 13, but he is versatile in that he does not have to run from the front.
“He has often won from behind, so Jamie Spencer, who stands in for Hughesie (Richard Hughes), will be able to drop him out and take his time.
“Obviously, this is his first time on the surface, but he works on something similar every morning and we are optimistic that he will handle it OK,” he told www.richardhannonracing.tv.
Junoob won the Winter Derby Trial in good style over the course and distance and his trainer Tom Dascombe is expecting a bold show from the four-year-old he claimed for £12,000 in December.
“Junoob has come out of the trial really well and his confidence seems to be growing all the time. With some luck in running, he must run a big race,” said the Cheshire handler.
“We held him up the last time with the blinkers back on and obviously he won well.
“Premio Loco is the class horse in the race. He’s proved it before and was very unlucky not to win this race two years ago.”
Richard Fahey goes into the race double-handed with Our Joe Mac and Myplacelater.
“We’re sticking a visor on Our Joe Mac for the first time to see if that can dig out a bit of improvement in him,” said the Malton trainer.
“Myplacelater maybe wants a bit further but she’s in good order, I’m happy with her.
“She’s got some nice form in the book but most of it seems to be on soft ground.
“We’re keen to give her a run. She’s got a good little slot (drawn three) and they should go a good gallop.”
Black Spirit is 5lb better off with Cai Shen for a length-and-a-half beating at Doncaster last September.
The former’s trainer, Clive Cox, gave the five-year-old his first taste of the Polytrack circuit in a workout last week.
“He’s wintered well,” said the Lambourn handler.
“I’d be very happy, even though this his seasonal debut. He’s had a spin round the track and seemed to act on it.
“He did a bit of work last week, so I’d be happy that with a bit of luck he should give a good account of himself.
“He’s in good order and we’re happy with him.”
Suits Me, trained by David Barron, has been declared a non-runner as he is suffering with a temperature.
Ed Walker has targeted Riggins at this race for some time and is hoping for a bit of luck in what he feels could be a ``muddling'' race.
“He ran a bit flat on his last run in November and we just gave him a short break,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“This has been the plan for some time and he’s a different horse on the all-weather.
“He’s wintered well, he’s fresh and working well. It looks a wide-open race and I think he’ll run well.
“It could be a muddling race with fancied runners drawn wide and it could be a trappy event.
“I’m pretty confident the trip won’t be a problem and as long as he settles and is not too fresh he should be fine.
“He’s not getting any younger but he’s not got many miles on the clock.”