Classy stayer Sandro Botticelli is among 12 entries for the £19,000 32Red Conditions Stakes (7.45pm) at Kempton Park on Wednesday, February 22.
The winner of the two-mile Polytrack contest is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Betway Marathon over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
Sandro Botticelli (John Ryan) was runner-up to Dartmouth on his All-Weather debut in the rearranged Group Three John Porter Stakes over an extended 13 furlongs at Chelmsford City in April.
The five-year-old posted some good efforts on turf during the summer including a short-head victory over She Is No Lady in a two-mile Listed race at Sandown Park in July. That came on the back of a good fifth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sandro Botticelli’s latest start saw him finish fourth behind Antiquarium and Famous Kid under a three pound penalty in a Fast-Track Qualifier on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on January 16.
Newmarket trainer John Ryan said today: “We needed to run Sandro Botticelli at Wolverhampton last time because there are limited races for him. He was just about ready for that.
“The Kempton race looks more realistic for him. Kempton is a more galloping track and I think the surface will suit him a bit better than at Wolverhampton.
“I thought the Wolverhampton run was OK against what look to be two very nice Godolphin horses [the winner Antiquarium and second Famous Kid].
“The aim is to get him qualified for Good Friday and Wednesday is one of the preparation runs for that really.”
The entries also feature First Mohican (Alan King), who was second to Godolphin’s Winning Story in a Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle in December, and Retrieve (Jamie Osborne), a multiple G1 runner-up in Australia and a Listed winner over hurdles.
Dual purpose mare Intense Tango (Karl Burke), winner of a valuable staying handicap on turf at Haydock Park in September, improving filly Isharah (Mark Johnston) and Italian import Vettori Rules (Gay Kelleway), who shaped well when fifth on his British debut at Wolverhampton on February 13, are also engaged.
Kempton Park’s six-race card on Wednesday starts at 5.45pm and finishes at 8.15pm.