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About Simon:

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

D-Day for Franklin D

It’s D-Day for FRANKLIN D on Saturday when he re-appears in the 10-furlong feature at Lingfield Park. Michael Bell hopes to run his promising four-year-old in the Group Three Coral Winter Derby at the end of the month but will need to win at the weekend to get his rating up to a realistic level for taking on the best Middle Distance performers off level weights. Franklin D was stopped dead in a messy race over course and distance last month when travelling well so returns with an unchanged rating of 93.

On the same card, some smart sprinters hold entries in the feature six-furlong handicap, including Tony Carroll’s Boom The Groom. He posted a highly encouraging performance to be fourth in a hot race at the Surrey track in January on his first outing since being gelded. He is entitled to come on for that but will have to be at his best to trouble the progressive Spring Loaded, who remains potentially well treated off his revised mark of 93. A win on Saturday would put Paul d’Arcy’s star in the frame for a crack at the big Good Friday prize.

Joy for Collins as Captain bounces back

Captain_Joy

One of the most heart-warming stories of the All-Weather Championships so far was the success of Tracey Collins’ gallant grey CAPTAIN JOY in Ireland’s Fast Track Qualifier at Dundalk last Friday – a victory that puts him on track for another crack at the £150,000 Mile Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.

Back in the Autumn, the gelding suffered a life-threatening bout of colic but pulled through surgery to make an unlikely return to the training ranks. Collins told me before the race that a win would be a bonus so no wonder she was overjoyed. Captain Joy certainly knows his way around Lingfield, having won a Fast Track Qualifier there last January and finishing third in last season’s Final behind Grey Mirage and Sovereign Debt.

Hurricane unlikely to blow at Lingfield

The classy HURRICANE, who won Sunday’s French Fast Track Qualifier for the 3YO Mile Final at Cagnes Sur Mer, is unlikely to take his chance at Lingfield Park on Good Friday. Jean-Claude Rouget’s colt extended his unbeaten record to three with a smooth success in the mile feature but the top trainer has hinted that Pattern races on home soil are his most likely targets.

It’s unfortunate news for the All-Weather Championships as his presence would add some welcome spice to the £150,000 added Final, which has been dealt another blow by the poor take-up for Ireland’s Fast Track Qualifier this Friday. Only four horses have been entered in their seven-furlong feature, including Mark Johnston’s Turbine. Top rated is the Mick Halford-trained Roman Impero, who has a rating of only 87.

Villain to move a step closer to Finals Day

Arch_Villain

Amanda Perrett’s ARCH VILLAIN sets a demanding standard in Wednesday’s two-mile conditions stakes at Lingfield Park (3.45) – a race that will give us some more valuable pointers for the Marathon Final on Good Friday. The seven-year-old hadn’t raced since finishing second in the 2014 Final to Litigant after sustaining a long-term injury but came back as good as ever to win over an inadequate trip in the New Year.

Back up to his optimum distance, he has the quality to hold staying stalwarts Castilo Del Diablo and Luv U Whatever, who both have something to find on recent performances if they are to pose a threat here. John Reel was consistent in the best staying races last winter but hasn’t achieved the same level of form as Arch Villain, and lacks a recent run, while Mark Johnston’s useful Notarised must prove his stamina as well as his liking for this turning track.

Expect Bold show from Walker’s Prediction

The form of BOLD PREDICTION’S Chelmsford City win in January couldn’t have worked out much better, with runner-up Abbey Angel winning next time and the third, Dance Of Fire, also scoring since. Ed Walker’s gelding re-appears over course and distance on Thursday (7.10) off just a 3lb higher mark and can complete the hat-trick at the probable expense of the prolific Supersta.

Bold Prediction is better drawn than Mick Appleby’s track specialist, who must shoulder a double penalty following back-to-back wins at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton. Victory on Thursday could yet put Bold Prediction within reach of a possible crack at the Mile Final on Good Friday. He would almost certainly need to win again to make the cut but remains on an upward curve.

My Best Bets

ARCH VILLAIN
3.45 Lingfield Park, Wednesday

BOLD PREDICTION (Nap)
7.10 Chelmsford City, Thursday