One trainer, one jockey, one horse and one race to watch on Saturday
One trainer . . . Aidan O'Brien
It's only one horse in one race, but the participation of Clear Skies in the Betway Winter Derby (3.15) is an early declaration of intent from the Ballydoyle record-breaker.
It is usually not until April that an O'Brien runner is sighted in Britain, but such has been the form of Clear Skies at Dundalk this winter that he is sending his first-ever runner to Lingfield for the Group 3 contest.
Clear Skies won five out of six from November through to January, suffering her only defeat at 2m and winning the last by five and a half lengths.
O'Brien set a new mark for the most Group or Grade 1 winners in a year – a tally of 28 – in 2017, but still has other goals.
After the Winter Derby, expect a flurry of other starters in the next few weeks when he will attempt to bring the likes of Mendelssohn up to speed for a crack at the Kentucky Derby.
One jockey . . . Max Kendrick
The 4m Betfred Eider Chase (2.45) will be a test of endurance for all participants but also a test of nerve for 5lb claiming conditional Max Kendrick, who bids for a hat-trick on the improving stayer Themanfrom Minella, who is owned by the rider's mother Carolyn.
The equipping of blinkers and longer distances have proved the making of Themanfrom Minella, who followed up a December victory at Warwick by making all in the Somerset National at Wincanton to win unchallenged under Kendrick, then claiming 7lb.
Kendrick, 23, turned conditional this season after riding as an amateur, and boss and trainer Ben Case says: "Max has been with us for three or four years and things have been going pretty well for him.
"He had a winner at Doncaster the other day and has won the last two on this horse. He finished sixth in the Foxhunters' at Aintree a few years a back, so he has plenty of experience over fences."
One horse . . . Scarlet Dragon
Some of the pre-race focus on the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle (3.00) at Kempton has been drawn to Humphrey Bogart and Carntop, the first two finishers in the 2016 Lingfield Derby Trial who are making their jumps debut in the same race.
But there is a horse who was better than both, on ratings, on the level who is also facing hurdles for the first time.
Scarlet Dragon attained an RPR of 112 in a Flat career of 23 starts for Eve Johnson Houghton that included victories in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket and Group-race placings in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood and September Stakes at Kempton.
He was due to run on Betfair Hurdle day at Newbury until a bad scope ruled him out and now has one shot here to establish whether his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle entry was justified.
One race . . . Betdaq Handicap Chase
There have been numerous name changes for the Betdaq Handicap Chase (3.35) at Kempton and there are none of the stars who graced it in the past, such as Desert Orchid, Docklands Express, Rough Quest, Gloria Victis or Nacarat, but this 3m contest is rarely dull.
It is the one televised race on the Kempton card unlikely to have any bearing on the Cheltenham Festival, but it could impact on the Randox Health Grand National and Go Conquer, As De Mee and Relentless Dreamer are all engaged in the Aintree marathon.
Pay heed to the track specialists, with three having scored over course and distance, particularly topweight Theatre Guide, who won the race in 2016 and finished a close third last year.
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