Trainer Dean Ivory is hoping that Lancelot Du Lac can go one place better in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships (3.10pm) on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park this Good Friday, April 14.
The seven-year-old was collared in the closing stages by Alben Star when coming home second in the very valuable six-furlong contest 12 months ago, having also finished an unlucky eighth behind the same horse in the inaugural All-Weather Sprint Championships in 2014.
Lancelot Du Lac has looked as good as ever on the All-Weather this season, following up victory off top-weight in a five-furlong Chelmsford City handicap in January with a nose verdict over Mythmaker (Bryan Smart) in the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes over six furlongs at Lingfield Park on February 4.
The son of Shamardal returned to Lingfield Park on February 25 for the five-furlong Listed Betway Hever Sprint, in which he was headed near the line to go down by half a length to Royal Birth (Stuart Williams).
Hertfordshire-based Ivory commented: “Lancelot Du Lac is doing very well at home and has been working nicely.
“We sent him back to Childwickbury Stud for two or three weeks after he ran in the Hever Sprint and then started back with him slowly – he doesn’t want an awful lot of work.
“He has obviously got some very good form at Lingfield over the past couple of years and we are just hoping for a good draw.
“I think that six furlongs suits him better than five but it all depends on what other horses are in the race. Lingfield is an easier six furlongs than some other courses – he wants pace in his races and he should get that on Good Friday.
“Hopefully, he can jump, track the leaders, take a bit of a blow and then finish strongly. He played his hand a bit early last year, when Alben Star did him on the line, and he hit the rail quite badly two years before that.
“I think he is a probably the best he has ever been and you just need to cross your fingers for a bit of luck.”
Lancelot Du Lac is 4/1 co-favourite with the race sponsor for the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships alongside impressive recent Lingfield Park handicap winner Kimberella (Richard Fahey) and Pretend (Charlie Appleby), who took the 2015 All-Weather Sprint Championships.
The 16 contenders also include Fast-Track Qualifier scorers Royal Birth (8/1), Doc Sportello (10/1, Michael Herrington) and Sign Of The Kodiac (16/1, James Given) plus Betway Cleves Stakes runner-up Mythmaker (14/1, Bryan Smart).
Finals Day gets underway with the £50,000 Sunbets All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap (1.40pm), and Ivory could be double-handed in the seven-furlong contest with Kadrizzi (9st 12lb) and Eljaddaaf (9st 2lb) featuring among the 40 entries.
Kadrizzi ran on strongly to take third in the Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships on Good Friday last year, while Eljaddaaf has gained four All-Weather wins, including when scoring by four lengths in a Kempton Park handicap in January.
Ivory added: “I think we have to run Kadrizzi because there is such good prize money. He needs a few runs to really shine and I think he is better on a straighter track but the turf is very firm at the moment.
“He was third in the big three-year-old race on Good Friday last year, when he was slowly out of the stalls, which is unusual for him. He missed the break and he just couldn’t pin the winner back. In another 10 yards, I think he could have won.
“The only thing that is probably going to stop him is the weight. He was checked in his run last time out and it all depends where you are coming round the bend at Lingfield.
“Eljaddaaf will run if he gets into the race. I think that he is a nice, progressive sort of horse, who likes a lot of pace in races.
“I wouldn’t say that there would be a whole lot difference between the pair on the Polytrack and Eljaddaaf has always had hard runs. If you look at all his previous races, he has been stuck in the middle, the outside or on the rail – that seems to be his style of running and he likes a battle to get there.
“As things stand, my apprentice Jack Duern will ride Kadrizzi and Lulu Stanford will ride Eljaddaaf. Lulu is a great girl, who can judge pace and read a race well, and that’s probably why Eljaddaaf is a bit of a dark horse in my opinion.”