Back
  • Biography

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

More postsBack

SIMON SAYS – My 4 Best Bets week 5

The Listed coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes, an early pointer to the Coral Easter Classic on Good Friday, is the highlight of this weekend’s action at Lingfield Park. At The Races All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft will be there and runs the rule over the leading contenders in the Fast Track Qualifier.

Godolphin has strong hand in Churchill

Godolphin, who won last season’s £200,000 Coral Easter Classic with the ultra-smart Tryster, have three live contenders in Saturday’s Listed Middle Distance feature, the coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes (3.10) at Lingfield Park. They are represented in the Fast Track Qualifier by top rated Maverick Wave, last season’s 3YO Mile runner-up Tempus Temporis and likely favourite LET’S GO.

Whilst a case can be made for both John Gosden runners, I expect Saeed Bin Suroor’s promising three-year-old Let’s Go to take all the beating. This lightly raced yet highly rated gelding finished within half a length of Tryster in a valuable conditions race at Chelmsford City in September – and that is the best piece of form on offer in a typically strong field. With Tryster being aimed at the Dubai World Cup, I expect the son of Street Cry to emerge as a leading contender for the Group Three Winter Derby and the Coral Easter Classic this season.

Maverick Wave has clearly improved since posting some solid efforts last winter, winning a Group Three at Chester in the spring, but the penalty he incurs for that could make his task tougher. Tempus Temporis comes back from a long lay off but has always shaped as though this longer trip will play to his strengths and could emerge as a leading Middle Distance performer in his own right.

Last year’s Churchill Stakes winner Battalion retains plenty of ability and heads to Lingfield a relatively fresh horse, while last season’s multiple Listed winner Grendisar has looked a shadow of his former self in three starts so Adam Kirby, who knows him well, will have to be at his best to conjure the necessary improvement out of Marco Botti’s off colour sand star.

Compensation awaits Lanigan Sprinter

Progressive young sprinter POLYBIUS might have won the Listed Golden Rose Stakes last year but for a car park draw. David Lanigan’s improving sprinter ran on all too late to be third but can gain compensation in Saturday’s renewal at Lingfield (2.35) – a Fast Track Qualifier for the Sprint Final on Good Friday.

Drawn much handier in stall five, Polybius makes plenty of appeal at the weights with an official rating of 108 and looks capable of denying a penalty for a Listed win on these terms. He may have the most to fear from Karl Burke’s course specialist Rivellino, a Listed winner over this trip at Lingfield who isn’t quite as well berthed in gate eight. Irish raider Jamesie comes over in good heart and should run well but David Marnane’s seven-year-old looks vulnerable to younger opposition at this level.

Tatting ready for Wolves assignment

I can make a good case for TATTING in the extended nine-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton on Friday evening (7.20). This horse has fallen to a tempting mark, having scored off 4lb higher over a mile at Chelmsford last winter, and arrives at Dunstall Park on the back of a solid effort in defeat at Newmarket. He is 0-18 on turf but a much stronger proposition on sand, with eight wins to his name. This is a drop in grade for the six-year-old who will get every assistance from the saddle in young William Twiston-Davies.

Count on Dougan to score at Lingfield

An opening mark of 72 doesn’t look daunting for the lightly raced DOUGAN, who makes his handicap debut at Lingfield on Friday (2.40) following a game success in a Kempton maiden. Well drawn in stall three and with Adam Kirby in the saddle, David Evans’ speedily bred gelding should not be troubled by another drop back in trip and can score again at the expense of more exposed rivals.

SELECTIONS:

DOUGAN
2.20 Lingfield Friday

TATTING (ew)
7.20 Wolverhampton Friday

POLYBIUS
2.35 Lingfield Saturday

LET’S GO (Nap)
3.10 Lingfield Saturday