Simon Mapletoft – Mid-Week Selections
Speedy Krystallite can follow up
Scott Dixon’s speedy filly KRYSTALLITE can supplement her Wolverhampton maiden win in the five-furlong handicap at Chelmsford City on Wednesday (1.30). She isn’t ideally drawn for a front-runner but easily brings the best form to the race and can overcome gate seven in a relatively small field.
The scopey chestnut is only 4lb higher than when finishing a good third to subsequent Fast Track winner Quatrieme Ami at Dunstall Park in November – a race run in record time. What’s more, her maiden victory last month was achieved at the expense of Aguerooo, who has gone on to win his next three starts.
Tony Carroll expects a good show from his Wolverhampton runner-up Hot Stuff, who will be partnered by Luke Morris. The reigning champion is fresh from a two-week break in the Caribbean and will be hungry to claw back title rival Adam Kirby’s slim lead.
Williams filly has more to offer
OAKLEY GIRL has been found a good opportunity to supplement her Lingfield win when she re-appears in the feature fillies’ handicap at Wolverhampton on Wednesday (2.20). Stuart Williams’ filly beat some useful rivals under Oisin Murphy on her previous start in November and can defy a 4lb rise.
The drop back in trip shouldn’t be a problem for a filly who has posted some solid efforts at around a mile on turf, notably when finishing fourth to improver Volunteer Point at Newmarket in October. That rival went on to win a tough handicap at Chelmsford before going close in a Listed Fast Track Qualifier in Deauville.
Unbeaten on the All-Weather, Oakley Girl is preferred to David Simcock’s Miss Understood, who came back from a long-term injury to win at Chelmsford last month. Simcock said after that victory that 10 furlongs was her bare minimum so the drop back to the extended mile might not be ideal.
1.30 Chelmsford City, Wednesday
2.20 Wolverhampton, Wednesday
Lancelot gallant in Chelsford
Dean Ivory’s sprinter LANCELOT DU LAC can head to Lingfield Park on Good Friday with every chance of landing the valuable Sprint Final following a classy performance in last weekend’s Fast Track Qualifier at Chelmsford City. The six-year-old travelled powerfully throughout the five-furlong feature to win easily in a track record time.
It won’t be the first time the son of Shamardal has contested the Final. He was only eighth in the inaugural running but appears to be a much more accomplished racehorse now. His defeat of German runner Gamgoom supplemented two successes over six furlongs at Kempton Park this season, prompting jockey Robert Winston to insist he has got faster with age. Likely to take a rating of at least 110 into the Final, he will be among the leading contenders and looks a sprinter to follow in Pattern races on turf come the spring.
Josephine is hot property
If you had told JOSEPHINE GORDON that she would be the leading apprentice on the All-Weather by Christmas she would have shaken her head in disbelief, but the Lambourn based youngster has caught they eye with a string of impressive performances.
The in-form David Evans is the latest trainer to latch onto her burgeoning talent. Gordon scored on his promising Dougan on New Year’s Eve before going close on Anonymous John in a hot sprint at Southwell 24 hours later. She has also got big priced horses into the frame on a regular basis – a real hallmark of an effective rider.
For a 7lb claimer Gordon rides with a mature tactical awareness and is tidy, well balanced and strong in a finish. Following the retirement of Hayley Turner and Kirsty Milczarek, Stan Moore’s claimer can establish herself as the next girl star if she can maintain her progress this winter.
Another jockey enjoying a purple patch is the resurgent KIERAN O’NEILL, who finds himself in the top 10 in the jockeys’ championship having ridden 15 winners by 2nd January. Based with Richard Hannon, he came close to quitting the saddle after rides dried up but a change of agent has given the 28-year-old a new lease of life. The Irishman was outstanding on Hannon’s Aguerooo over the holiday and has also linked up successfully with Scott Dixon, riding out for the Retford trainer every week.
Appleby goes International
MICK APPLEBY couldn’t be happier going into the New Year. The Newark handler tops the trainers’ charts numerically, taking his tally to 22 on Monday when Ziggy’s Star – the horse that got his 2015 century up at Chelmsford – scored at Wolverhampton.
Second in the last two championships to Mark Johnston and his namesake Charlie Appleby, the Yorkshireman has produced his best statistics around Dunstall Park this winter – surprising when he has enjoyed such a prolific record at his local track, Southwell, in recent years.
Appleby flew out to Dubai over the holiday to supervise three runners at the Carnival at Meydan. Pearl Nation, who had his ‘prep’ run at Southwell before Christmas, will try his luck on the dirt while Chelmsford scorer Bancnuanaheirreann and sprinter Demora will try their luck in handicaps on turf.
Stable jockey Andrew Mullen flew out on Tuesday and will partner all three at the opening meeting on Thursday. “They’ve all settled in really well and we’re hoping for the best. Pearl Nation ran well at Southwell and we’re hoping he will take well to the similar surface,” he told me.