Simon Mapletoft – Weekend Review & Mid-Week Selections
At The Races’ All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft examines the best of the midweek action and reflects on some of the most notable performers since the weekend.
Lamar back on the fast track
Versatile filly LAMAR, who gained a deserved Listed victory in the Fleur De Lys Stakes at Lingfield on the opening day of the season last month, is set to line up in another Fast Track Qualifier on Friday evening, this time at Wolverhampton.
James Tate’s sand star is arguably at her best over a mile or further but only just failed to reel in French winner Fresles in last season’s distaff Final over seven furlongs so will command plenty of respect in the conditions feature on the Tapeta (6.15).
Adding spice to the line up could be Sir Mark Prescott’s recent Listed scorer Don’t Be, who found the company too hot when trying 10 furlongs for the first time in the Listed Churchill Stakes last time but will be more at home in this company.
Godolphin dominated Good Friday last season and secured a Finals Day ticket for RACE DAY at Lingfield on Saturday. James Doyle, who rode Saeed Bin Suroor’s juvenile, told me the felt the addition of cheekpieces helped him focus when beating some smart rivals in the seven-furlong Fast Track Qualifier.
Race Day has already won over a mile at Lingfield – the Final trip – and looks capable of further progress though may ultimately find a few more progressive types too good.
Also en route to Finals Day is Roger Varian’s exciting miler MINDUROWNBUSINESS, who produced another scintillating performance to win a valuable handicap at Chelmsford City on Monday.
The winner of last season’s Lincoln Trial returned to action with victory at Lingfield only nine days earlier – a race that Varian thought he would need – and made light work of his elevated mark of 105. At this early stage, he looks the one they all have to beat in the Mile Final come Easter.
On the same Chelmsford card, old MEDICEAN MAN turned back the clock to scoop a notable prize in the sprint feature. Second in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot this year, he couldn’t get competitive in the Listed Golden Rose at Lingfield previously but enjoyed chasing a searching pace on this fast track on his return to handicap company.
Jeremy Gask is keen to keep him ticking over on the racecourse as the nine-year-old doesn’t winter well. He will be heading back to Dubai in the New Year having won out there in February 2014.
BIG BAZ, who won last week’s Fast Track Qualifier for the Mile Final at Kempton, the Listed Hyde Stakes, has come out of his race well and could be heading off to Dubai in the New Year.
William Muir tells me the imposing gelding can hold his own in Group company and may take his chance in the better races in the Maktoum Challenge before potentially returning for the Good Friday showpiece at Lingfield.
Kelly eyes number one with Hallelujah
Jockey Shane Kelly has made a successful start to the third All-Weather Championships and can bolster his strike rate on course specialist HALLELUJAH in the £19,000 added six-furlong handicap at Kempton on Wednesday (7.15).
James Fanshawe’s mare shaped as though she just needed her first start since February when fourth to Lancelot Du Lac over course and distance last month but, with the benefit of that outing, can gain her fourth win from only six starts at the London track.
Nicely drawn in stall four, Hallelujah appears fairly treated off a mark of 99, having been placed in Listed company last winter, and has the credentials to turn the tables on top weight Lancelot Du Lac.
Hugo has Spanish primed for listed success
Newmarket trainer Hugo Palmer has enjoyed a magnificent season and can land another notable prize with the lightly raced SPANISH SQUEEZE in the Listed Wild Flower Stakes (6.45) at Kempton on Wednesday evening.
This lightly raced three-year-old missed the summer but returned to get within a nose of the in-form Bancnuanaheireann in a valuable handicap at Chelmsford City earlier this month.
Gelded since the spring, he drew well clear of some useful rivals at the Essex track and gives the impression he will relish this longer trip.
Spanish Squeeze can also capitalise on the 6lb he receives from the respected Hamelin, who only just missed out in the Listed Floodlit Stakes over course and distance last time and looks sure to go well, too.
Quick return to pay off for Royale
Mick Appleby, the top trainer at Southwell, has wasted no time in turning BE ROYALE out again following her fast-finishing second at Chelmsford City on Monday.
She is set to re-appear in the closing seven-furlong handicap at Southwell on Thursday (3.35) having already proven herself on Fibresand.
Nicely drawn in stall three, she has the assistance of one of the best Southwell riders, Robert Winston, and looks ready to strike off her last winning mark.
6.45 Kempton (Wednesday)
7.15 Kempton (Wednesday)
Be Royale (Nap)
3.35 Southwell (Thursday)