Philip Kirby has his sights on a long-term staying double for Stargazer following his victory in a Newcastle fast-track qualifier for the all-weather championships.
While Lingfield on Good Friday (April 19) is the obvious first objective for the five-year-old, Kirby is eyeing the Northumberland Plate back at Newcastle on June 29 as a summer target.
“He’s absolutely grand. He’s come out of it fine. We’ve just got to make a plan now,” said the North Yorkshire handler, reflecting on Saturday’s win.
“He’ll have to go for the all-weather finals, I would think. I’m probably going to have to give him a short break now and bring him back for Lingfield and then something like the Northumberland Plate after that.
“There’s a big enough gap to do both – and with the prize money, we have to go for both.
“I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t like Lingfield, because he’s got plenty of turn of foot. He definitely deserves to take his chance, that’s for sure.”
n Warren Greatrex is looking for a big effort from La Bague Au Roi when she seeks to maintain her unbeaten record over fences in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas.
The Lambourn handler intends to make the three-mile Grade One contest the next port of call for the seven-year-old, who has made a seamless transition to chasing with two impressive victories at Newbury.
Greatrex said: “The plan is to head to Kempton on Boxing Day. I suppose win, lose or draw we will see where we are.
“I think the track will suit her and we will learn a lot more after that whether she is up to that grade. It looks like being a very hot race and almost as hot as the King George with the likes of Santini, Topofthegame and Count Meribel going there – they are a handful of the best novice chasers around this season.”
LINGFIELD: 11.40 Zorawar (next best), 12.10 Maximum Effect, 12.40 BEEHAAR (NAP), 1.15 Woodside Wonder, 1.50 Swiss Cross, 2.25 Entitle, 2.55 Kyoto Star, 3.25 Attain.
NEWCASTLE: 3.20 Illustrissime, 3.55 Battle Of Wills, 4.3 Haighfield, 5.05 Rich Approach, 5.40 Testa Rossa, 6.15 Etikaal, 6.45 Skyva, 7.15 Tadaany.
LUDLOW: 12.20 Northern Bound, 12.55 Psychedelic Rock, 1.25 Mercian Prince, 2.00 Evidence De Thaix, 2.35 Sumkindofthing, 3.05 Broughtons Admiral, 3.35 Don Juan Du Gouet.
NEWBURY: 12.30 Fusil Raffles, 1.05 Danny Kirwan, 1.40 Chosen Path, 2.15 Molly The Dolly, 2.45 Emitom, 3.15 Sir Egbert, 3.45 Little Lady Lu.