22 January 2019
Sprint perennial Tropics (Dean Ivory/Robert Winston) is out to make his mark again in 2019, being one of seven runners in the £30,000 Betway Conditions Race (5.45pm) at Newcastle tomorrow, Tuesday, January 22.
The five-furlong Tapeta contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier, with the winner guaranteed a free and automatic place in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship, staged over a furlong further on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19.
11-year-old Tropics, who has had 51 starts in a very distinguished career delivering 13 successes and Group One places, comes into the race on the back of a decisive victory in a five-furlong handicap on Polytrack at Chelmsford City on January 3, his fourth win from six starts at the Essex track.
Tropics was one of the leading British-trained sprinters in his prime, finishing second in both the 2014 and 2015 renewals of the six-furlong G1 July Cup at Newmarket. He is officially rated 104 on the All-Weather, higher than his 95 turf rating.
Dean Ivory, who trains in Radlett, Hertfordshire, revealed today: "Tropics is well and seems to be more of a specialist at five furlongs these days.
"He won his last race at Chelmsford nicely and finished second on his only start at Newcastle [in November, 2017], so I am hopeful, but also mindful that he is quite an old horse now.
"He went a bit quiet on us for a while before bouncing back last time.
"The handicapper has upped him to a rating of 104, which makes him a live contender for a race like this."
Jockey Robert Winston knows Tropics well, having ridden him 30 times in races.
Encore D'Or (Robert Cowell/Luke Morris) is the top-rated performer in the Betway Conditions Race, with a BHA All-Weather rating of 109.
The seven-year-old son of Oasis Dream won the Listed Scarbrough Stakes over five furlongs on turf at Doncaster in 2017 and was last seen when the half-length runner-up in the G3 Mercury Stakes over the same distance on Polytrack at Dundalk in October.
Encore D'Or is seven-time winner on the All-Weather and finished third in the 2017 All-Weather Sprint Championships on Finals Day.
Stone Of Destiny (Andrew Balding/P J McDonald) has won two of his three starts on All-Weather surfaces, taking contests at Newcastle and Chelmsford in the early part of 2018 when under the care of David Simcock before being bought by his present owner, King Power Racing Co Ltd
Transferred to Andrew Balding for the 2018 turf season, the four-year-old son of Acclamation put up his best performance when fourth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs at Royal Ascot. He was last seen when sixth in the Listed Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket in August.
A real course specialist is Outrage (Daniel Kubler/Kieran O'Neill), who has won four times at Newcastle. The seven-year-old's most recent success at the venue came on January 8, in a 0-95 handicap over five furlongs.
Newmarket trainer John Ryan has his string in fine form and is represented by Merhoob (Stevie Donohoe). Five of the seven-year-old's six victories have come on All-Weather surfaces and he has been in good form of late, taking a six-furlong handicap at Lingfield Park on December 30 before finishing second in a similar contest on January 12.
Ornate (David Griffiths/Phil Dennis) was twice based in Group company in his younger days and has been enjoying something of a revival recently, taking five-furlong handicaps on Fibresand at Southwell on January 10 and January 13.
Completing the field is Suzi's Connoisseur (Jane Chapple-Hyam/Paul Mulrennan). The eight-year-old made the made perfect start for his current stable when readily landing a six-furlong handicap at Lingfield Park on December 4.
He was last seen when a well-beaten fifth behind Kachy in a six-furlong Tapeta conditions race at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.
The Betway Conditions Race is part of an eight-race card at Newcastle, which runs form 4.10pm to 7.45pm.
The main supporting races are the £25,000 Betway Live Casino Handicap (4.10pm, eight runners) over two miles and the £25,000 sunracing.co.uk Handicap (5.15pm, nine runners) over seven furlongs.