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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 – Weekend Review & Mid-Week Selections

At The Races’ All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft looks ahead to Saturday’s Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton and pinpoints the best midweek bets on the sand.

Marathon contenders in spotlight on Saturday

The lure of a golden ticket for the Marathon Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday has attracted a high quality entry for Saturday’s Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton, a two-mile conditions stakes at 8.45. Among them is the Godolphin pair FAMOUS KID and ANGLOPHILE, who clashed at Chelmsford City last month.

Famous Kid came out on top that day for his trainer Saeed Bin Suroor and is rated 8lb superior but Charlie Appleby’s rival – a fine second in last season’s Final – is entitled to get closer with that run under his girth. Moonrise Landing, an improving, late-developing filly from the Ralph Beckett stable, looked on the upgrade when scoring over two miles at Kempton last time and adds muscle to what promises to be a mouth-watering contest.

One more run before final for Sprint Star

QUATRIEME AMI, the emerging star of the 3YO Sprint division, may not be seen in action again until nearer the Good Friday Final after securing his place in last weekend’s Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton. Charlie McBride’s colt confirmed the form of his recent course record victory over the game Sign Of The Kodiac, who will continue to run in qualifiers in the New Year.

Wolverhampton

Sean McBride, son of and assistant to the winning trainer, suggested the horse will be rested now before having a ‘prep’ run in February or March. Meanwhile, James Given was delighted with the runner-up, who could be a tough nut to crack around Lingfield and will be worthy of his place in the Final whether he wins a Fast Track race or not.

The odds-on favourite Ornate didn’t pick up as expected, leaving jockey Pat Cosgrave to wonder if he possibly just needed his first run since that narrow defeat in the Group Two Flying Childers in September. Nevertheless, it was still a disappointing performance considering he had 18lb in hand of the winner according to official ratings.

Well handicapped appeal in the Lingfield pick

The mile handicap at Lingfield on Wednesday (1.20) can see a return to winning ways for FORCEFUL APPEAL, who hinted at better to come when finishing well to be third in a course and distance handicap last month. Still 3lb below his last winning mark, and a course and distance winner to boot, the seven-year-old can get Epsom trainer Simon Dow off to a flying start following his move to a new yard in the town at the weekend. The main danger could be Dandy Nicholls’ Big Time, who was Group placed as a juvenile and has shown that he can still be competitive off this kind of mark.

AWC_fillies_and_mares_Lamar

Course winner Fable ready to follow up

FABLE OF ARACHNE has the credentials to land the opening nursery at Chelmsford City on Thursday (4.05). Stuart Williams’ runner overcame a wide draw to score over course and distance last month and confirm the promise of a strong-finishing fourth at the Essex track in October.

She can cope with a 5lb rise in a weak handicap, given her liking for the track and the improvement she showed for racing over an additional furlong. Richard Hannon’s Kempton scorer Walaaa will be popular, with talented claimer Gary Mahon negating 5lb of her penalty, but she must overcome the worst of the draw while promising Wolverhampton runner-up Bahamian Boy needs to be sharper from the gates on a track that favours prominent racers.

Second wave to complete Polytrack hat-trick

I liked the way Charlie Appleby’s SECOND WAVE found the speed and acceleration to get out of a pocket and reel in the leader in a Kempton handicap last time and expect him to maintain his progress at Chelmsford City on Thursday (5.10). Already a winner at the Essex venue, he is two from two on Polytrack and looks progressive enough to defy a 10lb rise over a trip that should suit. Indeed, victory here would put him firmly in the reckoning for the Mile Final at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Big Whiskey rates the danger after getting close to stand-out miler Mindurownbusiness over course and distance last time, while Mick Channon’s Volunteer Point turns out again after winning here on Monday. She will have to dig deeper to defy a penalty, however, in what looks a tougher race.

Simon’s Best Bets:

FORCEFUL APPEAL
1.20 Lingfield, Wednesday

FABLE OF ARACHNE
4.10 Chelmsford City, Thursday

SECOND WAVE (Nap)
5.10 Chelmsford City, Thursday