Newmarket trainer John Gosden eyes first Betway Winter Derby win with favourite Wissahickon
John Gosden is seeking a first win in today’s Betway Winter Derby at Lingfield Park - and in Wissahickon he has the odds-on favourite.
Wissahickon heads the 11 five-day confirmations for the £100,000 Group 3 race (3.15pm), with the 10-furlong Polytrack contest the final Fast-Track Qualifier of the Middle-Distance category in the All-Weather Championships.
The winner today will receive a free and automatic place in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic, over the same course and distance on Good Friday (April 19).
Wissahickon is the 2/5 favourite and the four-year-old, trained by Newmarket trainer Gosden, is chasing a third straight 10-furlong success at Lingfield Park, following impressive Listed victories in the Betway Quebec Stakes and Betway Winter Derby Trial.
The Tapit colt is aiming to become the sixth horse to complete the Betway Winter Derby Trial/Betway Winter Derby double, following Zanay (2000), Adiemus (2002), Parasol (2003), Eccentric (2005) and Grendisar (2016).
Gosden is also set to be represented by 14/1 shot Court House, who won a 12-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park in January, before coming home third in the Betway Winter Derby Trial.
Other Newmarket interest comes from Master The World (8/1), awarded the 2018 Betway Winter Derby in the stewards’ room after suffering interefence, and the David Elsworth-trained eight-year-old will be bidding to become the first dual winner of the race.
Stuart Williams’ Pactolus (33/1) heads into today’s contest in excellent form, with the eight-year-old having posted a career-best effort when scoring under top-weight in a handicap, run over the same course and distance as the Betway Winter Derby, last month.
Newmarket-based Williams said: “Pactolus will hopefully run in the Winter Derby and he is very well in himself.
“You would have to hope Wissahickon treads on a stone this week as everyone else looks as though they are playing for second or third.
“He has been an absolute star for us but it makes it difficult in handicaps off 104.
“There aren’t too many options for him and we make the entry, so we might as well take our chance.
“He will be running off a career-high mark at the age of eight, which is pretty amazing, and he is so versatile – he can go from the front or from the back.
“If you take Wissahickon out, there is not much between the rest of us, so we will do our best and probably head on to Good Friday afterwards.”
Today’s seven-race card also features the £45,000 Listed Betway Hever Sprint (2.05pm), which will see Robert Cowell represented by Encore D’Or, the current favourite, ahead of Corinthia Knight and Gorgeous Noora.