Simon Mapletoft – Weekend Review & Mid-Week Selections
At The Races’ All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft unearths some Christmas crackers on the sand on Tuesday and reflects upon the star performers of the past weekend.
Don’t Be a definite classic contender
There was no fluke about DON’T BE’S 20-1 success in Saturday’s Listed Coral Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park. Sir Mark Prescott’s mare beat some battle-hardened rivals in decisive fashion to supplement her Black Type victory in Ireland in October and announce herself a legitimate Winter Derby and Coral Easter Classic contender.
She can expect her rating of 99 to increase markedly after lowering the colours of favourite Grendisar, himself a multiple Listed winner in the Middle Distance category of the All-Weather Championships. In fact, Marco Botti’s star had won the Quebec Stakes in 2014 and got closer than any other rival to the exciting Let’s Go in the Listed Churchill Stakes over course and distance last month.
Don’t Be, who was given a fine ride by champion jockey Luke Morris, was well placed to strike off the home turn and prove herself over 10 furlongs after establishing herself over seven furlongs and a mile. She also had Listed winning filly Lamar behind in third and last year’s Churchill Stakes winner Battalion among those in the rear. Relatively unexposed at this trip, Don’t Be will probably be aimed at the Listed Winter Derby Trial in February and will have to be taken seriously now.
Could Barye be a marathon player?
Richard Hughes’s first thought after riding his new recruit BARYE on the home gallops was that he would get two miles and the imposing four-year-old took a step in the right direction when scoring impressively in Saturday’s mile and a half feature at Lingfield Park. Hughes stepped the former David Simcock gelding up in trip following an encouraging stable debut at Kempton when he chased home the smart Oceanographer over 11 furlongs.
The way he swung round the field to score decisively in the coral.co.uk Handicap suggests that stamina could prove his strongest suit and I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a crack at one of the Fast Track Qualifiers for the Marathon Final in the New Year. Barye’s victory took Hughes’s record on the All-Weather to eight winners from 31 runners at a healthy strike rate of 26 per cent.
Believe in Hughes at Wolverhapton
Richard Hughes can enhance his impressive strike rate as a rookie trainer when BELIEVE IT makes his handicap debut at Wolverhampton on Tuesday (3.10). The former Richard Hannon colt begins on a lowly mark of 54 in division two of the Coral Casino Handicap and looks to have been found a winning opportunity for the former champion jockey and his regular, in-form pilot Shane Kelly.
Believe It stayed on well to be fourth in a six-furlong maiden at Dunstall Park last month and should appreciate this step up to seven. The son of Rip Van Winkle is preferred to Mop’s Angel. Mick Appleby’s filly made a pleasing re-appearance when third over the extended mile at this track last time and looks primed to go well, but is more exposed than my selection.
Appleby filly poised for hat-trick
Mick Appleby excels with bargain buys from other yards and CAPELITA gave connections an instant return when she scored decisively at Southwell last week. Now the four-year-old is poised to re-appear in the mile handicap on Fibresand on Tuesday (1.00) and looks set to defy a penalty.
Capelita, a maiden winner for Clive Brittain earlier this year, was bought for 13,000gns at the October Sales and that looked money well spent after her six-length rout of dual course winner Tiger’s Home. She must give weight away all-round on her return to Southwell but looks a natural on the surface and will be hard to deny in a modest field. The main danger could be the Richard Fahey-trained Oak Bluffs who finished well behind Appleby’s progressive Supersta in a better race at Chelmsford City last time.
Twin makes appeal on fibresand
The re-match between TWIN APPEAL and Cordite in the seven-furlong handicap at Southwell on Tuesday (1.30) promises to be another exciting duel but the former can confirm the narrow superiority he achieved over course and distance last time.
David Barron’s runner looked the likely winner of a hot Class 2 handicap when overpowering Cordite inside the final furlong under Luke Morris. He maintained a slight advantage over Mick Appleby’s four-year-old but had to settle for third behind the useful Westwood Hoe and former Ayr Gold Cup winner Highland Colori.
It was Twin Appeal’s first start since contesting a valuable handicap at The Curragh in September and he is entitled to be sharper for the run. Resuming on identical terms with Cordite, I expect him to confirm the form in the hands of stable jockey Graham Gibbons, who has been successful on the gelding three times already.
3.10 Wolverhampton, Tuesday
1.00 Southwell, Tuesday
1.30 Southwell, Tuesday