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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 – Weekend selections

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

More glory for Famous Kid

Godolphin missed out on the Marathon Championship last season when Anglophile was denied by Mymatechris, but the boys in blue can guarantee themselves a live Good Friday Final contender when FAMOUS KID re-appears in the Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton on Saturday (8.45).

Saeed Bin Suroor’s four-year-old stands out among the declarations for the extended two-mile feature having beaten last season’s Marathon Final runner-up Anglophile by a commanding six lengths at Chelmsford City last month. He hasn’t tackled a trip this far but looks sure to stay and is taken to confirm the form with Charlie Appleby’s runner.

Anglophile has nothing to prove tripwise but has 8lb to find with his Chelmsford conqueror on these terms. He is entitled to close the gap after being in need of that first run since the spring but will find it difficult to turn the tables if Famous Kid runs up to his best. Another contender is Ralph Beckett’s improving filly Moonrise Landing but she, too, has her work cut out to deny the son of Street Cry that golden ticket to Finals Day.

Elsworth improver the Southwell pick

JUSTICE WELL has never raced on Fibresand but I expect David Elsworth’s colt to adapt to the surface when he takes his chance in the seven-furlong feature handicap (1.05) at Southwell on Saturday. This three-year-old ran above his mark when dividing two Listed winners in a Kempton conditions stakes last month and his ability to handle testing ground on turf suggests he will appreciate the galloping nature of this track.

In opposition is Mick Appleby’s Pearl Nation, who won the race last year. He has been rested all summer in readiness for a campaign in Dubai so is entitled to sharpen up for a race that has been his long-term target. Appleby’s horses have hit form lately, putting the Newark handler on a par with Saeed Bin Suroor at the top of the trainers’ Championship going into the weekend.

Oscar can excel on fibresand

Horse Racing - Southwell Racecourse

Watch out for Conor Dore’s well handicapped EXCELLING OSCAR in the closing seven-furlong handicap at Southwell on Saturday (3.25). Dore’s gelding is 4lb lower than when successful on the Fibresand back in February and hinted that a victory is on the cards when second to the unexposed Fibresand runner Indomitable Spirit over this trip earlier this week. Being drawn in stall 11 should not prove a disadvantage over this trip so I expect him to capitalise on a winning opportunity against some questionable opposition. The best of them may be Grey Destiny, who also finished second over course and distance on his latest start in a similar time.

Keep faith with Newton’s

NEWTON’S LAW is a sprinter I have been following closely and he could prove the value in the competitive six-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton on Saturday (6.15). Brian Meehan’s four-year-old was given far too much to do at Kempton last time but fairly flew at the death in pursuit of a lost cause.

Paul Mulrennan, back from riding in an international jockeys’ challenge in Barbados, takes over and more positive tactics, coupled with a step up in trip, could see the four-year-old strike gold at rewarding odds off a mark just 2lb higher than the one he won off at Newmarket in the summer.

SELECTIONS:

JUSTICE WELL
1.05 Southwell, Saturday

EXCELLING OSCAR
3.25 Southwell, Saturday

NEWTON’S LAW (ew)
6.15 Wolverhampton, Saturday

FAMOUS KID (Nap)
8.45 Wolverhampton, Saturday

Class dropper stands out at Southwell

HAYLEY TURNER with ELUSIVITY after her final ride at Nottingham 4-11-15.

On face value, ELUSIVITY has been disappointing of late, but he will be worth closer inspection if he stands his ground at Southwell on Tuesday (3.30). Conor Dore’s seven-year-old has dropped to a mark of 75 which allows him to compete at a lower level in this five-furlong dash. He didn’t run at all badly behind the in-form Keep It Dark over course and distance last month so retains plenty of ability.

Charlie Appleby confirms his star sprinter PRETEND to be on track for a New Year return. The winner of Good Friday’s Sprint Final is being aimed at a five-furlong Fast Track Qualifier at Chelmsford City on 2nd January. Appleby is also planning a New Year campaign for classy Marathon contender Pinzolo.

My midweek winning Nap FORCEFUL APPEAL could be one to keep on your side. The commanding manner of his victory at Lingfield (11-4) suggests he could be hard to beat next time. He was 3lb lower than the mark he carried to victory on sand earlier in the year so would have to be of strong interest under a penalty. Simon Dow’s miler is now six from 14 at the Surrey track.