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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

Festive to put down Derby marker

Godolphin’s FESTIVE FARE can put down his marker for next month’s Group Three Coral Winter Derby if he lines up in the Listed Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield on Saturday (2.55) – a fast Track Qualifier for the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic at the Surrey track on Good Friday.

Charlie_Appleby_Alt

Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old remains unbeaten on artificial surfaces after an impressive handicap win at Wolverhampton before Christmas and, with an upwardly mobile rating of 108, looks the one they will all have to beat. However, Festive Fare will face a stern test from some true heavyweights of the All-Weather Championships, including wonder mare Lamar, multiple Listed winner Grendisar, last season’s Classic runner-up Complicit and the 2014 Mile Champion Captain Cat.

South African filly faces biggest test

William Haggas’s decision to enter South African filly COLD AS ICE in Saturday’s Listed Cleves Stakes at Lingfield has added some additional spice to a stellar line-up. The Grade 2 winner has the £150,000 Fillies & Mares Final on Good Friday on her agenda but connections are clearly keen to achieve some Black Type en route to Lingfield in March.

Cold As Ice drops back in trip having beaten the in-form Realize in a seven-furlong conditions race at Chelmsford City under her regular South African pilot Bernard Fayd’Herbe. However, Haggas has provisionally booked Joe Fanning to partner the filly, who is top rated on a mark of 110. She will have to be on her mettle on her first start at Lingfield, with top All-Weather sprinters such as Chookie Royale, Alben Star and Rivellino among her likely opponents. Another eye-catching entry is Godolphin’s lightly raced My Call, who only just failed to win a Fast Track Qualifier at Chelmsford last month on her first start over seven furlongs.

Evans ace bid for quickfire hat-trick

Lingfield AW

GRACIOUS JOHN has taken the 3YO Sprint division by storm and looks set to put his burgeoning reputation on the line again at Chelmsford City on Sunday. David Evans’ starlet is among the entries for the five-furlong Fast Track Qualifier and, with a rating of 109, sets a demanding standard to the other nine acceptors.

He impressed by beating Group Two placed Ornate around Lingfield before clinching his place in the Good Friday Final with a pillar-to-post win in a six-furlong Fast Track Qualifier at Kempton last month. He looks an even more potent threat back over the minimum trip and had the second highest rated entrant, Field Of Vision, behind at the Sunbury track. Other notable entries include Dean Ivory’s gutsy Lingfield winner Kadrizzi and the improving Dark Side Princess.

Morris has title in his sights

Horse Racing - Sandown Racecourse

Reigning Champion jockey LUKE MORRIS is right back in the winning groove after his two-week holiday during the Christmas period but his battle with arch-rival Adam Kirby for the 2015-16 title looks set to go down to the wire. Kirby continues in big demand after both riders reached the half-century recently but Morris remains title favourite and should be tough to peg back, due mainly to his light weight which enables him to accept more key rides.

Mick Appleby has had a quiet month by his standards but remains among the top trainers numerically, along with David Evans and Richard Fahey. However, when it comes to statistics Newmarket trainer STUART WILLIAMS is the man to follow. At the time of writing, his 22 winners had been achieved at an enviable strike rate of 24 per cent, yielding a tidy £42.41 profit to a £1 level stake. Further down the table, Newmarket based George Margarson is enjoying a profitable spell. He is operating at a near one if four strike rate at a level stakes profit of over £37.

Jammy is tasty in Kempton feature

Lingfield Races

Adam Kirby, one of the most sought after jockeys on the All-Weather, has helped transform George Margarson’s JAMMY GUEST who can complete a hat-trick in the feature seven-furlong handicap at Kempton on Wednesday (6.10). This strong traveller recorded a smooth success over course and distance last time and has the quality to defy a 6lb rise. Don’t be put off by the wide draw – he likes to be held up for a late run and should prove hard to repel as long as he enjoys a trouble-free passage.

Knight filly looks well treated

William Knight’s three-year-old KIRINGA can make a winning handicap debut when she steps up to six furlongs at Kempton on Wednesday evening (7.40). The daughter of Kyllachy was far from disgraced behind two subsequent winners at Lingfield last time and can exploit an opening mark of just 50 with Champion jockey Luke Morris in the plate. She is well drawn in stall one and I prefer her to the consistent but more exposed rival Kristoff.

Duchess can stamp her class at Chelmsford

Newbury Thursday

Former Champion jockey Richard Hughes has worked wonders with DUCHESS OF MARMITE since switching to the training ranks and can oversee her fourth victory in the mile and three-quarter handicap at Chelmsford City on Thursday (6.40). This previous course winner lost nothing in defeat in a valuable contest in Ireland last time, going down by a narrow margin in a slowly run race at Dundalk. She is positively thriving and gets on well with Shane Kelly, who ought to be granted a stronger pace to run at this time. I expect the Hughes filly to make light work of a 2lb rise against exposed opposition.

My Best Bets

JAMMY GUEST
6.10 Kempton Park, Wednesday

KIRINGA
7.40 Kempton Park, Wednesday

DUCHESS OF MARMITE (Nap)
6.40 Chelmsford City, Thursday