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Simon has worked as a racing journalist since 1994 and can be seen regularly on the award-winning Sky Sports’ channel At The Races, presenting live horse racing from the track and the studio. He is widely regarded as the leading expert on All-Weather racing, spearheading the coverage of the annual All-Weather Championships on At The Races. Simon will be contributing weekly articles on his best picks for the all weather action

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Simon Mapletoft – Mid-Week selections

Maverick to confirm top polytrack form

Godolphin’s Maverick Wave can get back to winning ways in the feature handicap at Kempton Park on Wednesday (6.10). The John Gosden-trained five-year-old posted a big effort to finish second to Grendisar in last month’s Group Three Coral Winter Derby – by far the best piece of form on offer in this £19,000 added 10-furlong contest.

A Group Three winner on turf last year, Maverick Wave will be ridden by James Doyle and looks capable of conceding 8lb to another Godolphin runner, Razor Wind. Charlie Appleby’s son of Dubawi ran well to fill the runner-up berth on his re-appearance at Wolverhampton but was no match for Maverick Wave when the pair clashed in January last year and there is no obvious reason why he should turn the tables.

A mouthwatering contest also features Our Channel, who probably should have done better at Dunstall Park last time and bottom-weight Dance Of Fire, who looked good when dominating at Chelmsford City but also failed to impress on his most recent start behind Razor Wind. John Reel drops markedly in trip but needs this third run to quality for the Marathon Final on Good Friday.

New Rich to strike again

New_Rich

New Rich doesn’t always find winning straightforward but looked in rude health when he scored at Lingfield last month and can defy a 4lb rise in the second division of the six-furlong handicap at Kempton Park on Wednesday (7.10). Eve Johnson Houghton’s six-year-old produced a telling turn of foot to win off a strong pace and should be assured another good gallop here.

A course and distance winner, New Rich may prove too strong for Tony Carroll’s Prominna, who must contend with a 6lb hike for his win over the minimum trip at Lingfield. He has never won over this distance, which is a negative, while another recent winner Rigoletto is held by New Rich on course form in January.

My Best Bets

MAVERICK WAVE (Nap)
6.10 Kempton Park, Wednesday

NEW RICH
7.10 Kempton Park, Wednesday

Wolowitz has wow factor

He’s joined the party late, but there’s no doubting the credentials of David Barron’s Wolowitz for Good Friday’s £150,000 3YO Sprint Final at Lingfield Park. He overcame a tricky wide draw to gun down warm favourite Kadrizzi in Wolverhampton’s Fast Track Qualifier on Friday evening, completing a quickfire hat-trick in the process.

Wolowitz looks to be progressing at a rate of knots and should have no trouble negotiating the tights turns around Lingfield. Gelded since his debut last year, he possesses the speed to pick up the pacesetters in a matter of strides – a talent that will surely make him a force come the big day. Kadrizzi, meanwhile, ran another game race and is also qualified for Finals Day but was simply beaten by a more progressive rival.

Notarised sparks notable Johnston treble

Middleham trainer Mark Johnston has around 140 blue blooded two-year-olds to look forward to this year but enjoyed three marquee successes on the All-Weather last week, winning two Fast Track Qualifiers and a feature handicap in consecutive days.

Notarised set the ball rolling by taking Chelmsford City’s two-mile qualifier for the Marathon Final, appreciating a strong pace to set a new track record. He reversed recent Lingfield form with the reliable John Reel and also beat hot favourite Pinzolo. However, it was disappointing to see Richard Hughes’s progressive stayer Barye finish lame, sustaining an injury which must cast a serious doubt over his participation on Good Friday.

Watersmeet

Whilst Notarised has few miles on the clock as an All-Weather campaigner, and stays the trip well, I suspect stable companion Watersmeet could pose a bigger threat in the Marathon Final. He dominated over a trip short of his best in a Dundalk Fast Track on Friday under the excellent Joe Fanning and should have no problem seeing out the two miles at Lingfield if Johnston chooses that option over the Classic.

Mister Universe completed the treble with a pillar to post display in the feature mile handicap at Lingfield on Friday on his seasonal re-appearance. Don’t expect to see him on Good Friday, though. He hasn’t had enough runs to qualify but is being trained with the following weekend’s valuable turf curtain-raiser, The Lincoln Handicap, in mind.

Varian colt has Final in his sights

The 3YO Mile Final on Good Friday still presents the muddiest picture in terms of likely participants but Roger Varian intends to take his chance with Saturday’s Fast Track Qualifier Haalick. This son of Roderick O’Connor hadn’t been seen in public since disappointing in Group Three company on turf in September but travelled smoothly in a messy race to land the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield Park.

Haalick first caught my eye when second in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival in the autumn and should have no trouble stepping up to a mile on the big day. In what is likely to be an open renewal, Varian’s colt must be on the shortlist for the £150,000 prize.