Group One runner-up Donjuan Triumphant headlines a top-quality field for the seven-furlong £19,000 32Red.com Conditions Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton Park tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9.
The Richard Fahey-trained three-year-old, who took a G2 in France by five and a half lengths last year, found only Signs Of Blessing a length and a quarter too strong in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest over six and a half furlongs at Deauville in August.
He subsequently finished down the field in two of Europe’s top six-furlong G1 sprints – the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in September and the QIPCO British Champions Sprint on Champions Day at Ascot on October 15.
Jack Garritty takes the ride for the first time this year on the Dream Ahead colt, who races in the colours of Middleham Park Racing and breaks from stall one in a field on nine.
Tim Palin of Middleham Park Racing commented: “Some of Donjuan Triumphant’s form this year is outstanding. He was second to Quiet Reflection in the Sandy Lane Stakes and was runner-up in the Maurice de Gheest.
“That level of form should see him head and shoulders above his rivals but some of his performances this year have been disappointing – he has almost interspersed a good run with a bad one.
“We are not able to identify whether there is a problem but we are under the impression that it could be a slight lack of confidence. It could be that the rigours of racing on a regular basis are testing him mentally, so we have given him a nice easy time after his run at Ascot.
“We have popped a hood on him, which seems to have calmed him down a lot, because he was a bit of a tearaway last time out and got upset in the stalls at Haydock before then. Stepping him up to seven furlongs should also help him settle into a rhythm.
“This will enable us to have a look at campaigning him on the All-Weather and whether to aim him at Finals Day in the spring or even possibly try him on the dirt out in Dubai. Most of his life at home is spent on the All-Weather at home, so you would be hopeful that he can translate his turf form.
“It’s a fact-finding mission and this could open up some serious avenues for us if he did take to it like a duck to water.”
Mitchum Swagger (David Lanigan/George Baker) also drops down from G1 level after running on Champions Day at Ascot, with the four-year-old having faded to 12th behind top filly Minding in the mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The four-year-old, who is drawn three, was beaten a head on his only previous All-Weather appearance, in a seven-furlong Polytrack conditions race at Chelmsford City in August, and went down by the same margin in the G3 32Red Mile at Haydock Park in September.
Lanigan reported: “The ground was unfortunately too quick for Mitchum Swagger at Ascot but he seems to have come out of the race in good form. The going was the only issue with him that day.
“It has been three weeks since that run and he looks well. We will see how he gets on tomorrow before making any plans for the winter.”
The nine runners for the 32Red.com Conditions Stakes also feature one-time 2000 Guineas favourite Faydhan (John Gosden/Paul Hanagan) and G2 runner-up Emell (Richard Hannon/Kieran O’Neill) plus All-Weather Listed scorer Chookie Royale (Keith Dalgleish/Tom Eaves also pictured).
A competitive contest is in prospect for the 11-furlong 32Red London Middle Distance Final Handicap (7.25pm) on the same card, with Old Rowley Cup fourth Sixties Groove (Jeremy Noseda/Jim Crowley, 9st 4lb) and Kempton Park winner Banish (Hugo Palmer/Josephine Gordon (3), 9st 5lb) featuring among a field of 13.
Kempton Park’s eight-race card on Wednesday starts at 4.25pm and concludes at 7.55pm.
A big week for the All-Weather Championships also sees Southwell hosts its first meeting on the Fibresand since April with an eight-race card on Thursday, November 10, headed by the £20,000 32Red.com Nursery Handicap (2.25pm).
Current British Champion All Weather Jockey Luke Morris is set to make his return from injury at Wolverhampton on Friday, November 11, while Lingfield Park hosts a pair of Listed Fast-Track Qualifiers the following afternoon – the £45,000 Betway Churchill Stakes (2.35pm) and the £40,000 Betway Golden Rose Stakes (1.25pm)