Toast Of New York begins his All-Weather Championships campaign at Lingfield Park this Wednesday, December 5, when he goes for a repeat victory in the £19,000 Betway Casino Conditions Race (1.00pm) over 10 furlongs on Polytrack.
The popular seven-year-old was at the peak of his powers in 2014, starting the year with an impressive victory in the G2 UAE Derby at Meydan and ending it with a gallant nose second in the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
Toast Of New York (Jamie Osborne/Adam Kirby) defeated subsequent Listed scorer Petite Jack by a length in the Betway Casino Conditions Race 12 months ago, his first start since that memorable run at the Breeders' Cup, and has subsequently raced on dirt in America.
After finishing last in the world's richest race, the G1 Pegasus World Cup, at Gulfstream Park in January, he made two appearances at Churchill Downs, taking second in the G3 Lukas Classic Stakes on September 30 and fourth in the G2 Marathon Stakes on the Breeders' Cup undercard on November 2.
Osborne, who also won the Betway Casino Conditions Race in 2016 with Battalion, said today: "We had our hand forced a little bit in America because Toast Of New York only made the reserve list for the Breeders' Cup Classic and so we had to run him over a trip too far in the [14-furlong] Marathon Stakes.
"I felt that he ran very well and, even though he didn't get the trip, what it did show is that he is in great heart.
"We brought him back with the view that we are going to lower his sights and give him a winter campaign in the UK.
"I think the race on Wednesday is a nice starting point for him and, provided all goes well, he could end up in the Betway Quebec Stakes back at Lingfield on December 22 before moving onto the Betway Winter Derby and then hopefully All-Weather Championships Finals Day.
"I feel these races at his age are realistic targets. He is probably not the force he once was, but he is still a force and his rating of 110 puts him bang there."
|Toast Of New York wins the Betway Casino Conditions Race 12 months ago|
Scarlet Dragon (Alan King/Martin Harley) is the main danger to Toast Of New York judged on his last two performances. He finished third in the G3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury on October 27 and ran well over course and distance last time out when fourth behind Master The World in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes on November 17.
The former Aidan O'Brien-trained North Face (Luke Morris) has his first start for Newmarket handler Marco Botti. North Face ran three times for O'Brien this autumn, with the pick of those efforts coming when second in the Listed Navigation Stakes over an extended mile at Cork on October 10.
Another horse having its first start for a different trainer is five-year-old mare Mango Tango (Archie Watson/Edward Greatrex). Formerly trained in France by Pascal Bary and Qatar by Ibrahim Al Malki, her best performance to date saw her finish second in the G2 Prix de Pomone at Deauville in August, 2016.
The six runner field is completed by Goring (Eve Johnson-Houghton/Tom Marquand), a four-time winner over a mile on Polytrack at Lingfield Park, and Dragon Mall (Rebecca Menzies/Stevie Donohoe).
Lingfield Park's eight-race card starts at 11.30pm and ends at 3.10pm.
Wednesday's All-Weather Championships action also includes the £45,000 Listed 32Red Wild Flower Stakes (6.30pm) over 12 furlongs, the highlight of an eight-race evening card on Polytrack at Kempton Park.
The 10 runners are headed by a 111-rated French raider in Time Shanakill (Giuseppe Botti/Adam Kirby), who was beaten a neck on his latest start in the G2 Prix du Conseil de Paris at Chantilly on October 21.
High-class Jump mare Verdana Blue (Nicky Henderson) bids to maintain her 100 per cent record on the Flat after a string of good performances over hurdles this autumn. Her sole Flat success came on the All-Weather in a maiden at Chelmsford City on September 29.
Other notable contenders include Listed Betway Churchill Stakes fifth Spark Plug (Brian Meehan/Tom Marquand) and 2016 G1 Investec Oaks runner-up Architecture (Hugo Palmer/Jason Watson), who finished second over course and distance in the Listed 32Red Floodlit Stakes on November 5.
Kempton Park's eight-race programme starts at 3.55pm and ends at 7.30pm.