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Horse Racing: Alenquer returning to action at Lingfield

The classy Alenquer returns to action in the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday having "wintered well" according to connections.

William Haggas' hope is using the 1m2f contest as a warm-up for a possible tilt at the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on World Cup night on March 26th, with Alenquer 3/1 to triumph this weekend.

Alenquer enjoyed 2021 success

The four-year-old had some high-class form to his name in 2021, including when beating subsequent Derby winner Adayar in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown on his reappearance in April.

After that, Alenquer landed the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and was twice placed at Group 1 level, including when chasing home Mishriff in the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York in August.

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Owned by M M Stables, Alenquer was last seen finishing ninth in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe in October, but has wintered well at Somerville Lodge since then.

The owners' racing manager, Armando Duarte, said: "Alenquer has wintered well and has put on weight, but we feel he's only heading into this race 80 per cent fit."

Distance could be an issue

"The mile and a quarter around there might be a bit sharp for him if they go no pace, but William is pleased with the horse and this is very much a starting point for him."

Alenquer takes on Group 1 winner Lord North in Saturday's contest which has attracted nine entries.

Duarte said: "Obviously we respect the chances of Lord North and if this were a handicap we'd be getting 8lb, but hopefully he can set himself up for a trip to Dubai or possibly the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp in April."

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