Pia Brandt (pictured) is set to launch a twin assault on the £40,000 Coral Quebec Stakes (2.20pm) with Metropol and Hawke due to run in the 10-furlong highlight at Lingfield Park on Saturday, December 19.
The Chantilly-based trainer boasts a superb record at the Surrey course, with all four of her runners on the Polytrack having won or placed including Fresles, who captured the 32Red.com All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships on Good Friday this year.
Metropol, a 9/1 chance for the Coral Quebec Stakes with the race sponsor, returns to Lingfield Park after coming home a close third behind winner Let’s Go and Grendisar (4/1, joint-favourite, Marco Botti) over the same distance in the Listed coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes on November 14.
The four-year-old had previously shown a good level of form on the All-Weather in France, headed by a pair of handicap victories over nine and a half furlongs at Deauville and Chantilly.
Hawke, a 20/1 shot with Coral, won a Longchamp conditions race in April and came home a creditable 10th in the Group One Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French 2,000 Guineas, the following month.
He has made three All-Weather appearances this autumn and was a close fifth on his latest appearance in an extended nine-furlong Listed race at Deauville on December 1.
Brandt commented today: “I am planning to run both Metropol and Hawke at Lingfield Park on Saturday.
“Metropol stayed well in the Churchill Stakes and, now that he and the jockey (Theo Bachelot) know their way round, I hope that we might be able to improve on that run.
“The horse has a tendency to lean a little bit to his right, which is why he went a bit wide entering the home straight and I think that jockey kicked a little bit early, but I am being a little bit picky!
“He fought quite well but I think that Grendisar was the logical winner that day because he really picked up late on.
“We thought quite a lot of Hawke earlier in the year but then he started not giving everything mentally in his races and so we decided to get him gelded.
“He has had three runs since we castrated him and he is a lot more focused – he used to wear blinkers but doesn’t need them now. I think that a mile and a quarter will suit him perfectly because he is quite an easy ride these days.
“He is a horse who has met with a lot of bad luck in his races and has not been able to show his maximum ability yet but I hope that he might be able to on Saturday.
“We are hoping to get Metropol qualified for Good Friday and we will aim to get another run into him in February.
“There’s a chance that Hawke might go out to Dubai in January, providing he gets an invitation – he is quite well-rated at the moment and it could be interesting to run him in the handicaps out there.”
The 15 entries for the Coral Quebec Stakes included dual Listed winner Battalion (4/1 joint-favourite, William Haggas), who was fifth in the coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes before going on to record a straightforward victory over Energia Davos (9/1, Jane Chapple-Hyam) in a 10-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park on December 2.
Man Of Harlech (6/1, Andrew Balding) is also bidding to follow up a course and distance success, having stormed to an impressive handicap victory on November 25, while Graphic (11/2, William Haggas) could make his first start since running in the Group Two Godolphin Mile at Meydan, Dubai, in March.
Lamar (6/1, James Tate) has been in fantastic form during the All-Weather Championships and the filly may step back up in distance following Fast-Track Qualifier wins over seven furlongs and a mile.
Both Man Of Harlech and Graphic have also been entered in the £11,500 Ladbrokes Conditions Stakes (2.55pm) and nine entries for the mile contest also includes the David Simcock-trained pair of Calling Out and Horsted Keynes.
A seven-race card also features the 12-furlong £19,000 coral.co.uk Handicap, which has attracted 17 entries including Kempton Park winner The Steward (Sir Mark Prescott) and talented hurdler Sign Of A Victory (Nicky Henderson).
Unbeaten juveniles Good Trip and Yattwee, who have both gained impressive wins at Southwell for Saeed bin Suroor, are among seven contenders for the £4,700 32Red Novice Stakes (1.45pm) over a mile.
Coral Quebec Stakes – Coral prices
4/1 Battalion, Grendisar, 11/2 Graphic, 6/1 Lamar, Man Of Harlech, 9/1 Metropol, Energia Davos, 16/1 Don’t Be, Our Channel, 20/1 Hawke, 25/1 Real Smart, 33/1 Phyllis Maud, Sequester, 40/1 Starlit Cantata, 100/1 Unex El Greco
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1-2-3