Michael Halford is looking forward to saddling Roman Impero in the €25,000 32Red Casino Race (7.35pm), one of the two Fast-Track Qualifiers at Dundalk, Ireland, on Friday, February 19.
The winner of the seven-furlong Polytrack prize is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 32Red All-Weather Three-Year-Old Mile at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 25.
Roman Impero got off the mark at the third attempt with an easy victory, by four and a half lengths, in a seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk on January 8.
The son of Holy Roman Emperor was second in a similar contest over the same course and distance in December, having shaped nicely when a close sixth on his debut at Naas on turf in early September.
Halford said: “Roman Impero is really well.
“I thought his win the last day was a run he could improve off. He was still a bit green but could not have been any more impressive. The form has actually worked out pretty well, with plenty of winners coming out the race.
“I think he has come forward nicely from that and Friday’s race has been the plan for a while. If all goes well, we will be looking at the final on Good Friday.”
The entries also feature British challenger Turbine (Mark Johnston), who was fourth to Race Day in a similar contest at Lingfield Park in November. Course scorer More Than Munny (Johnny Murtagh) and Les Talionis (Johnny Levins), who contested three Group Two races last year, are also entered.
There are 10 in contention for the €25,000 32Red.com Race (7.05pm) over two miles, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 32Red All-Weather Marathon over the same distance on Good Friday.
The entries are led by Shalaman (David Marnane), who was fourth in the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic on All-Weather Finals Day last year but has yet to tackle further than 12 furlongs. Other notables include Mandatario (Jim Bolger), third in the 10-furlong Listed Carlingford Stakes at Dundalk in October, plus the Gordon Elliott-trained pair of Eshtiaal and Taglietelle.
Dundalk’s seven-race card starts 6.05pm and concludes at 9.05pm.