High-class sprinter Take Cover is set to return this weekend in the £45,000 Unibet Hever Sprint Stakes (1.45pm, 17 entries), one of two Fast-Track Qualifiers at Lingfield Park on Saturday, February 27.
The winner of the five-furlong contest on Polytrack is guaranteed a place in the £150,000 Unibet All-Weather Sprint over a furlong further at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 25.
Trained near Bawtry in South Yorkshire by David Griffiths, Take Cover burst onto the sprinting scene in the summer of 2014 with victories in the Listed City Walls Stakes at York and the Group Two King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, both on turf.
The nine-year-old posted a string of good effforts in 2015, notably when beaten a head by Muthmir (William Haggas) back at Goodwood, before ending the campaign with a decisive victory in the Listed Mercury Stakes over five furlongs on Polytrack at Dundalk on October 23.
Griffiths said: “Take Cover had a break after Dundalk and is in good form. I thought Saturday’s race would be a little bit easier to be honest. It does look a hot for a Listed race.
“Muthmir beat us in the Group Two at Goodwood but he carries a penalty and so does Move In Time, which is obviously a help. There is also Line Of Reason and the German horse who ran very well last time.
“Take Cover is really well and five furlongs at Lingfield should suit him down to the ground, especially if we get a good draw. He goes well fresh and could be hard to catch.
“If he wins or runs in the first three, then Dubai World Cup Night (March 26) will definitely be on the agenda, all being well.
“We entered Brother Tiger just in case but I would say he is very unlikely to run. He is a seriously good horse when things drop right for him, as he proved when breaking the track record at Chelmsford last time. He will probably go for a 0-105 at Lingfield next weekend.”
Take Cover has raced seven times on All-Weather surfaces in Britain and Ireland, winning four, finishing a close second twice and not staying seven furlongs on the other occasion.
The 17 entries also feature Move In Time (David O’Meara), winner of the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye in 2014, Listed scorer Line Of Reason (Paul Midgley) and German challenger Gamgoom (Mario Hofer), runner-up from an unfavourable draw in the six-furlong Listed Unibet Cleves Stakes last time out.
All-Weather Championships Finals Day winners Alben Star (Richard Fahey) and Lightscameraction (Gay Kelleway) are also engaged.
The £100,000 Group Three Coral Winter Derby (3.20pm, 14 entries) is the highlight of Lingfield Park’s six-race card. Run over 10 furlongs, it is Fast-Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic over the same distance on Good Friday.
Festive Fare (Charlie Appleby) is the 3/1 favourite with Coral although has half a length to find with Grendisar (Marco Botti) after the pair were first and second in the coral.co.uk Winter Derby Trial on February 6.
Coral Winter Derby, Coral bet: 3/1 Festive Fare; 7/2 Grendisar; 7/1 Battalion; 8/1 Furia Cruzada, Tullius; 14/1 Fire Fighting, Our Channel; 16/1 Energia Davos, Maverick Wave; 20/1 Calling Out, Complicit, Watersmeet; 33/1 Tempus Temporis; 50/1 Battle Of Marathon.