Stoute sends out Midterm in bid for seventh win in Kempton Group 3
toteplacepot September Stakes l Group 3 l 3yo+ | 1m4f l ITV/ RUK
Midterm makes his first all-weather start in the opening feature and has been kept busy on the many Polytrack surfaces around Newmarket in recent days as part of his preparation.
Ironically, the one-time Derby hope returned to form in a conditions race at Epsom last month and is out to give trainer Sir Michael Stoute his seventh win in the mile-and-a-half contest, having scored with Arab Spring a year ago.
Before his revival on the Downs, Khalid Abdullah's colt had turned in a couple of modest efforts including a last of six in a Listed contest at Newmarket in July, but connections are hoping he has turned a corner after registering his first win in nearly 18 months.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to the owner, said: "Midterm was freshened up after Newmarket and it was nice to see him return to form and win a conditions race at Epsom last time.
"That was over a mile and a quarter and as he was only rolling in the last furlong and a half, I would expect the return to a mile and a half to be well within his compass."
More experienced on Polytrack is Midterm's main rival Chemical Charge, who is in "the form of his life" according to his trainer Ralph Beckett.
The five-year-old, who won as a juvenile at the Sunbury track, also finished second in a Listed contest over course and distance last winter.
Since then Chemical Charge has had a productive summer, posting a career-best effort when third to Idaho in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot before following up with a comfortable win in a conditions event at Musselburgh.
Beckett said: "This looks the right race for Chemical Charge and we've had it mapped out for him for some time. We know he likes the surface and he's in the form of his life right now."
One of a couple of the six-strong field dropping in trip is Scarlet Dragon, who failed to stay in the Ebor last time.
Owner Henry Ponsonby said: "We feel that this is his trip as he's only been beaten once over it and that was by Poet's Word. Charles Bishop partners him for the first time but he rides him at home and I think he's a big price."
Another contender beaten in the Ebor last time is Wild Hacked, of whom trainer Marco Botti said: "I thought he ran well in the Ebor, when the ground was a little quick for him. He came out of that well. Ralph Beckett's horse and Midterm are rated higher than him but we know he handles the track."
Less certain to stay is Law And Order, who was second to Second Step over a half-furlong less than this last time but that was at Windsor. Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Manana, said: "He ran well at Windsor last time but this trip might stretch him if they go a gallop."