Royal Ascot runner-up Headway is among six three-year-olds declared to run in the £45,000 Listed 32Red Spring Cup (3.30pm) over seven furlongs on Polytrack at Lingfield Park this Saturday, March 3. The 32Red Spring Cup is one of four races which will be broadcast live from Lingfield Park on ITV1.
Headway (William Haggas/James Doyle) opened his account impressively at Chester over six furlongs May, before going down by a head to Rajasinghe in the G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The son of Havana Gold was not at that level on soft ground at Glorious Goodwood, finishing sixth in the G2 Richmond Stakes, but returned to form when third in the G2 Gimcrack Stakes at York’s Ebor Festival on August 26, his most recent outing.
Owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club, the 32Red Spring Cup will be his first race over seven furlongs and on an All-Weather surface.
Lansky (Jeremy Noseda/Ryan Moore) posted his best effort so far at York, taking third behind Wells Farhh Go in the seven-furlong G3 Acomb Stakes. He subsequently finished fourth in the G2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury and signed off 2017 with a comfortable success on Polytrack at Kempton Park in October.
Trainer Mark Johnston is double-handed in the 32Red Spring Cup with Rufus King (Joe Fanning) and Lake Volta (Franny Norton).
The returning Rufus King ended last year with a rating of 103 after annexing a seven-furlong nursery at Newmarket in October, while Lake Volta finished third in three Listed or G3 contests during 2017, including the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park in September.
Lake Volta has race fitness on his side, having finished fourth behind Corinthia Knight in a five-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle on February 21.
Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his North Yorkshire-based father, said today: “Rufus King finished the season on a nice note at Newmarket last year.
“We contemplated going abroad with him through the winter but decided to stay put and focus on a three-year-old campaign here.
“It is his first run back of the year, but we are happy with how he has wintered and this looks a nice starting point. The trip and grade look perfect and it should give us an indication as to where we set our sights for the rest of the year.
“The focus for Lake Volta is the 32Red Three-Year-Old Championships on Good Friday. Although the final is over six furlongs, there are no qualifier races over that trip through February and March.
“We needed to get two runs into him, which is why he ran over five furlongs at Newcastle last week and is running over seven furlongs on Saturday. He is jumping about in trip, but we are just trying to get him qualified for the Final.
“I actually thought he ran a nice race at Newcastle, as we fully expected the trip to be too sharp for him. The race on Saturday is a more suitable test and, with fitness on his side, I can see him running a good race.”
Bengali Boys (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan) captured the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint impressively at Newbury in July on his fourth outing. He had one more start last year when fourth in the Listed Roses Stakes at York the following month and has yet to run in an All-Weather race.
The other runner with a race under his belt in 2018 is Albishr (Simon Dow/Tom Marquand). He finished second, beaten a head, in a mile novice contest at Kempton Park in January.
Lingfield Park’s seven-race card, which starts at 1.45pm, also features the £19,000 Betway Handicap (2.55pm, eight runners) over five furlongs. The weights are topped by Encore D’Or (Robert Cowell/Ryan Moore) who finished second over course and distance in the Listed Betway Hever Sprint Stakes last Saturday.
The seven-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier in the Fillies & Mares category that was scheduled to take place at Dundalk, Ireland, tomorrow will now be staged on Friday, March 9.