Simon Mapletoft – Mid-Week selections
Noseda Star the stand-out in Kempton fast track
Sloane Avenue should prove hard to beat in Wednesday’s Fast Track Qualifier at Kempton Park (6.40). He faces only four rivals in the mile feature, a conditions race which guarantees the winner a place in the Mile Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.
Jeremy Noseda’s lightly raced five-year-old has been kept under wraps since getting within a short-head of Tamarkuz in the Godolphin Mile in Dubai last year and will head back to Meydan for another shot at the valuable Group Two if everything goes to plan at Kempton.
The son of Candy Ride is already proven on the Polytrack circuit after winning the Listed Hyde Stakes in November 2014 and should have the speed to cope if Wednesday’s race becomes tactical. The danger may be 2014 Mile Final winner Captain Cat, who doesn’t appear quite as good as he was and does have 5lb to find at these weights with my selection.
Stake has claims in midweek sprint
Dean Ivory’s young sprinter Stake Acclaim hasn’t lived up to his potential in two runs around Chelmsford City this winter but is capable of better and might be poised to show it in the six-furlong handicap at Kempton Park on Wednesday (7.40).
Stepping up in trip on a slower surface could be they key to this soft ground winner who likes to be held up and drops in grade, courtesy of the handicapper’s decision to lower his mark by 2lb. With five last-time-out winners in the line-up, the Acclamation gelding should go off at potentially rewarding odds and is worth an interest.
Scottish Raider has hat-trick in sights
Biff Johnson has made two successful raids on Chelmsford City this winter and promises to score again when Scottish trainer Keith Dalgleish sends him all the way to Kempton Park on Wednesday for a mile and a half handicap (7.10).
This four-year-old son of Dansili has been raised only 2lb for his narrow victory over 10 furlongs earlier this month and can take advantage of a workable mark now he steps up in trip. Bred to appreciate the additional two furlongs, Biff Johnson can get the better of the talented but fragile Kalahari, who must defy a 6lb rise for his course and distance win three weeks ago.
My Best Bets:
SLOANE AVENUE (Nap)
6.40 Kempton Park, Wednesday
7.10 Kempton Park, Wednesday
STAKE ACCLAIM (ew)
7.40 Kempton Park, Wednesday
Festive and Grendisar set for Derby rematch
Festive Fare is set for an eagerly-awaited re-match with his recent conqueror Grendisar in Saturday’s Group Three Coral Winter Derby at Lingfield Park (3.20). Godolphin’s four-year-old found only Marco Botti’s stalwart too good in the Listed Winter Derby Trial earlier this month and both stand out among the five-day acceptors for All-Weather racing’s highest ranked contest.
Charlie Appleby’s gelding certainly gives the impression he has more to offer after narrowly surrendering his unbeaten record on synthetics to Grendisar, who hasn’t been out of the first two in three Listed races over course and distance this season and looks sure to play a part once again if he can be delivered late off a generous pace.
Another interesting entry is John Gosden’s new recruit Furia Cruzada, a Group One performer in her native Chile, while William Haggas looks to have two solid chances with 2014 Churchill Stakes winner Battalion and impressive Chelmsford City scorer Our Channel. Complicit, second to Tryster in last year’s Coral Easter Classic, adds more depth to Saturday’s exciting feature.
Muthmir the star turn in Hever Stakes
William Haggas has identified the Listed Hever Stakes at Lingfield Park on Saturday (1.45) as the starting point for his classy Pattern sprinter Muthmir, the highest rated among 17 entries for the five-furlong Fast Track Qualifier. Muthmir has never races on an artificial surface and lacks experience of sharp bends but could still be the one to beat in what is effectively a drop in grade.
Also among a stellar cast is David Griffith’s Take Cover, who lost out to Muthmir in a photo-finish in the Group Two King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last summer. David O’Meara’s Group One winner Move In Time is another big name entry while Mario Hofer’s speedy Gamgoom heads the international acceptors.