Turf Talk: De Medici well-equipped to deal with step up in trip

Prestbury Park's trainer, Mark Johnston.
Prestbury Park's trainer, Mark Johnston.
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De Medici made a big impression on his racecourse debut at Lingfield last month and should be backed to follow up on his return to the track in the 32Red Casino Novice Stakes.

Archie Watson has made a fine start to his fledgling training career over the past couple of seasons, enjoying notable success on the all-weather with Absolute Blast and Petite Jack.

While it is too early to say whether or not De Medici will go on to scale those heights, the gelded son of Makfi certainly looked destined for bigger and better things when seeing off previous winner Completion on his introduction over the mile here less than three weeks ago.

He faces a tougher task on his second start, conceding weight to all but one of his rivals, but he appears an exciting prospect and the step up to a mile and a quarter should not be an inconvenience judged on the way he finished last time.

With the Cheltenham Festival only a week away, the topically-named Prestbury Park gets the nod in the 32Red Sprint Handicap.

Mark Johnston’s inmate won twice on the turf last summer at Haydock and Chester respectively and went on to finish third in a valuable handicap at Newmarket in October.

He has not been seen in competitive action since finishing fourth on his all-weather debut at Chelmsford in November, but the Middleham trainer has his string in good order and it is not inconceivable Prestbury Park could be better than ever having been gelded since we last saw him.

A strong evening fixture at Kempton features the £25,000 32Red Handicap and the £50,000 ‘Road To The Kentucky Derby’ Conditions Stakes.

The 10-furlong handicap opens the bumper eight-race card and Star Archer is fancied to complete a hat-trick for Hugo Palmer.

TURF TALK TIPS

CATTERICK: 1.50 Strait Run, 2.20 Alzammaar, 2.50 Birch Vale, 3.20 Middlebrow, 3.50 In The Hold, 4.20 Just Cause, 4.50 Indian Opera.

FONTWELL: 2.10 Boreham Bill, 2.40 Spiritofchartwell, 3.10 Euxton Lane, 3.40 Who’s My Jockey, 4.10 Sandy Beach, 4.40 Soldier Of Love.

KEMPTON: 5.40 Star Archer (next best), 6.10 Tarseekh, 6.40 Lawn Ranger, 7.10 Three Weeks, 7.40 Titan Goddess, 8.10 Coverham, 8.40 Tommys Geal, 9.10 Koubba.

LINGFIELD: 2.00 Presence Process, 2.30 Classic Pursuit, 3.00 Sea Ess Seas, 3.30 DE MEDICI (NAP), 4.00 Prestbury Park (treble), 4.30 Exceeding Power, 5.00 Cliffs Of Dover.

All-weather action at Newcastle. PIC: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

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