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Simon Mapletoft – Mid-week selections

| 16.03.2016

World his oyster for Universe

Mark Johnston’s Mister Universe clinched his place in the £150,000 Mile Final on Good Friday with victory in the Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton on Saturday – the last of 28 Fast Track Qualifiers for All-Weather Championships Finals Day. Mark Johnston’s four-year-old got the better of a protracted battle with last year’s winner Sovereign Debt to book his place at Lingfield next week and emerges as a leading contender.

Mister Universe swerved the valuable Lincoln Trial Handicap on the same card to take his chance here and connections will be fancying their chances of confirming Tapeta form with Dandy Nicholls’ grey, who was such an unlucky loser in last year’s Mile Final. The son of Cape Cross stays a mile well around Lingfield – he won over that trip there on his re-appearance – and is also in the Lincoln proper. However, Bruce Raymond, representing the owner, told me he was unlikely to take his chance on Town Moor just a week after Good Friday.

Sovereign Debt was off the bridle turning in but looked the most likely winner when he hit the front inside the final furlong, only to be out-battled by Joe Fanning and Mister Universe. Nicholls felt his stable star would come on for the run, whatever happened, so don’t write him off too quickly at Lingfield. Back up to a mile on that sharp track could give him a vital edge in what promises to be a stellar renewal.

Does Noseda hold Lincoln key?

Newmarket 11.6.08

It is often said that an unexposed four-year-old with Pattern potential is the type of horse to back in the Lincoln Handicap and Jeremy Noseda’s weekend winner Keystroke certainly fits the bill for the turf season’s opening cavalry charge next month.

Keystroke was sent off favourite for Saturday’s valuable Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton despite having raced only three times in his life, but justified market support with a smart performance on his seasonal re-appearance to hold the remarkable Supersta. Jim Crowley enjoyed a nice run through on the inside but told me the Pivotal colt still felt green under pressure.

A must for the shortlist in the Lincoln proper, he will certainly be sharper for the experience when he arrives at Town Moor and should relish the straight mile, but a word of caution if you’re thinking of getting involved ante-post. His only defeat came on soft ground at Newmarket so any ease in conditions would have to be a worry.

Supersta has lived up to his name this season. Bought for just £4,500 by Mick Appleby at Doncaster Sales in the autumn, he came within an ace of his sixth and biggest victory of the winter, having progressed a whopping 30lb in the handicap. Connections are eyeing a crack at the Victoria Cup at Ascot next – a race that could prove ideal for a horse who should keep progressing on turf.

Common sense prevails as Morris gets green light

Thank goodness common sense prevailed on Friday when champion All-Weather jockey Luke Morris won his appeal against a harsh five-day suspension that threatened to rule him out of Good Friday Finals Day. I spoke to him at Wolverhampton at the weekend when he expressed his relief following a few “anxious” days.

Horse Racing - Sandown Racecourse

Morris suffered the wrath of the Lingfield stewards for not pulling up a horse that was subsequently found to be lame, though he did ease his mount down. The ban would have robbed Finals Day of one of its true stars as Morris will almost certainly retain his title and has some key rides to look forward to.

A conscientious horseman, the Newmarket jockey is a genuine credit to his profession and has played a significant role in helping to build the profile of the All-Weather Championships. Indeed, big days in the racing calendar like the Good Friday Finals cannot afford to be robbed of their stars for no good reason.

The horse in question, Apache Glory, is now perfectly sound, reports Morris.

Nuno interesting on fibresand debut

Richard Fahey splashed out 45,000gns for Nuno Tristan at Newmarket Sales last autumn and can score his second success with the ex-William Jarvis gelding in Southwell’s feature handicap on Wednesday (3.55).

He won off a 9lb lower mark at Wolverhampton in January before staying on well behind the prolific Bosham at Chelmsford and wasn’t disgraced in a hot sprint at Lingfield last month when a steady early pace was against him.

Nuno Tristan’s prominent racing style should be well suited to this track and he promises to appreciate the step up to seven furlongs. What’s more, the 7lb that promising new stable apprentice Adam McNamara takes off can give him a vital advantage over Fibresand specialists Ian’s Memory and Philba, who are sure to be involved but both need a career best to win.

Multitask poised for big Kempton run

Multitask has produced winning form around Kempton Park in the past and can take advantage of an attractive mark in the seven-furlong handicap (8.10) on Wednesday at potentially rewarding odds.

Michael Madgwick’s hold-up performer finished in eye-catching style over six at Lingfield last month but found himself with too much to do. However, compensation could await now that he races off a mark 4lb lower than the one he scored off at Lingfield just over a year ago.

Liam Keniry has been in the plate for his last five wins and should be able to ride exactly the type of race he wants to from a good draw in stall four. What’s more, Multitask has been kept fresh this winter and faces exposed and out of form opposition.

Tiger set to roar at Chelmsford

Brother Tiger brings the best form to the table in a competitive five-furlong handicap at Chelmsford City on Thursday (6.50) and can supplement his recent course and distance win for Doncaster trainer David Griffiths, who believes his seven-year-old has the potential to win at Listed level this year.

The son of Singspiel looked in fine fettle when making all to deny a 6lb lower mark at this track in February. Drawn in stall seven, he should enjoy a nice tow into the race from Bosham, who has made this track his own this winter but looks to be in the handicapper’s grip now.

My Best bets

3.55 Southwell, Wednesday

8.10 Kempton Park, Wednesday

6.50 Chelmsford City, 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