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Simon Mapletoft – Weekend Review & Mid-Week Selections

| 16.11.2015

At The Races’ All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft reflects on the victory of Let’s Be in the Listed coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday and turns the spotlight on the midweek action featuring the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton –a Fast Track Qualifier for Good Friday Finals’ Day.

Godolphin gelding looks the real deal

LET’S GO put his burgeoning reputation on the line in the Listed coral.co.uk Churchill Stakes at Lingfield Park on Saturday and in doing so emerged as a genuine contender for the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic at the Surrey track on Good Friday. Going into the weekend, the gelded son of Street Cry had run only four times in his life but that close second to last season’s Classic hero Tryster at Chelmsford City in September was stand-out form, and he franked it in no uncertain style.

Saeed Bin Suroor’s three-year-old faced a high quality field, including multiple All-Weather Listed winner Grendisar and last year’s Churchill Stakes victor Battalion. Stalking the pace set by William Buick on another Godolphin runner Maverick Wave, Let’s Go travelled sweetly and found easily enough to repel the strong-finishing Grendisar in the mile and a quarter Fast Track Qualifier. He may head to Dubai now his place in the Final is secure but sets a demanding standard in the Middle Distance division after this.

Debt to return a profit in listed feature

Richard Pankhurst, a leading contender for the Guineas after his win in the Chesham Stakes, is a fascinating contender in the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton on Wednesday (7.25) as he bids to get his stop-start career back on track. John Gosden couldn’t get the colt back onto the racecourse until September when he won a conditions race at Haydock and brings him back from another significant absence in the Fast Track Qualifier for the Mile Final on Good Friday.

Clearly a colt of great potential, the son of Raven’s Pass does have something to prove against some battle-hardened Pattern performers including SOVEREIGN DEBT – my idea of the winner. Dandy Nicholls’ 113-rated grey has won a Group Three and two Listed races in Ireland since suffering a luckless defeat in last season’s Mile Final at Lingfield and couldn’t head to the Sunbury circuit in better form. Going right-handed shouldn’t be an issue and Joe Fanning knows him well having taken the Listed Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton on the six-year-old back in March.

Ryan juvenile has nursery claims

Kevin Ryan isn’t a trainer who targets the All-Weather with a dedicated team, but his runners always merit consideration and two-year-old WELD AL KHAWANEEJ is no exception in the seven-furlong nursery at Kempton on Wednesday (4.55). The Thirsk trainer’s only runner at the meeting could have been better drawn but has put two solid runs together over this trip, winning at Ayr before getting too far back at Wolverhampton last time. With the excellent Graham Lee in the plate, he can overcome stall 12 and make his presence felt in an open race off an unchanged mark.

Ryan’s new sprinter Goken looks an exciting recruit to the All-Weather ranks on the evidence of his victory under Lee in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield on Saturday – another Fast Track Qualifier for Good Friday. Goken had won a Group Three on turf in France for previous connections but looked very much at home around Lingfield’s tight turns and has the class to make an impact against the likes of reigning champion Pretend come Finals Day.

Go crazy at Chelmsford

Don’t miss CRAZY CHIC if he stands his ground, as expected, in the feature Class 2 handicap at Chelmsford City on Thursday (6.05). Marco Botti’s four-year-old was impressive when cutting down a good field at Lingfield on the opening day of the season – his third win over seven furlongs on artificial surfaces. Champion jockey Luke Morris has again been booked for the ride and I expect the combination to make light work of a 6lb rise en route to better things this winter. If Crazy Chic does win he will have been successful at Wolverhampton, Kempton, Lingfield and Chelmsford. How’s that for versatility!

Bridge set to follow up

Another one for your notebook at Chelmsford City on Thursday is Martin Smith’s improver BRIDGE OF SIGHS – advised in my Blog a couple of weeks ago when swooping wide to score with plenty in hand under Richard Kingscote. He has the credentials to enjoy a productive winter and, with apprentice Tim Clark set to negate three of the 5lb rise, is taken to follow up over his winning trip (7.10).


4.55 Kempton (Wednesday)

7.25 Kempton (Wednesday)

6.05 Chelmsford (Thursday)

7.10 Chelmsford (Thursday)



Simon Mapletoft

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