At The Races’ All-Weather expert and Coral ambassador Simon Mapletoft casts an eye over the weekend action at Lingfield Park and Wolverhampton.
Fast track star Baz heads to mile final
BIG BAZ has always been held in high regard by his trainer William Muir and the five-year-old is finally fulfilling his promise. His emphatic victory in Wednesday night’s Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton was his second consecutive win at that level and guarantees him a place in the £150,000 Mile Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.
The powerful gelding, who has proven form at Lingfield, was given a well-judged ride by Graham Lee in a race where it paid to be on the sharp end. Godolphin’s runner-up Very Special had work to do on official ratings but did well to plug on for a clear second and looks open to improvement. Sovereign Debt, an unlucky second in last season’s Final, would have preferred a stronger run race so wasn’t disgraced in fourth.
In an early-season trial for the two-mile Marathon Final, Ralph Beckett’s MOONRISE LANDING stepped up in trip to maintain her rapid improvement at the expense of progressive favourite Percy Veer. The daughter of Dalakhani made light work of her rating of 88 and looks likely to be given a mark in the mid-90s following this four and a half-length rout. A Fast Track Qualifier for Good Friday could be on the cards now.
Meanwhile, LUKE MORRIS continues to blaze an early trail in the jockeys’ championship but his arch rival ADAM KIRBY overcame an uncharacteristically slow start to get within two winners of the title holder as the new season swung into its fourth week. Morris is set to partner exciting young sprinter Judicial for Julie Camacho in a £45,000 added dash at Chelmsford City on Monday while Kirby has been pencilled in to partner Percy Veer in the two-mile handicap on a stellar card.
Noseda colt to claim golden ticket
Saturday’s Fast Track Qualifier at Lingfield Park for the 3YO Mile Final next Easter could go to Jeremy Noseda’s promising colt ABE LINCOLN. He looked a cut above the ordinary when winning on debut at Kempton in effortless fashion and looks set to book his place on Good Friday in the seven-furlong conditions race (12.50). I expect him to have too much speed for the promising Mark Johnston colt Turbine, who made a mockery of his big price to win on debut at Wolverhampton last week. Godolphin’s Race Day won well enough at Lingfield last weekend but isn’t straightforward and looks vulnerable to likely improvers.
Go for a thrill in fillies’ feature
The performance of David Elsworth’s SOMETHINGTHRILLING at Pontefract last month won’t have escaped too many people’s attention but she looks a solid choice in the mile fillies’ handicap (2.35) at Lingfield Park on Saturday. Her nine-length success at the Yorkshire track earned her an opening rating of 85 but she looks capable of defying that against exposed opposition. This half-sister to an All-Weather winner clearly has more to offer and can take advantage of a good opportunity in a race that forms part of an improved programme for fillies and mares.
Stotic can strike on handicap bow
Henry Candy’s gelding STOIC BOY posted his best performance in three career starts when only just failing to win a six-furlong Kempton maiden last month and looks primed to break his duck in the closing handicap at Lingfield Park on Saturday (3.45). Nicely berthed in stall five, the gelded son of Paco Boy has been found a good opportunity to make a winning handicap debut off what could prove a lenient mark of just 59. He is Candy’s only runner on the card.
Rich Pickings at Wolverhampton
I have no doubt that James Bethell’s RICH AGAIN is well handicapped and expect him to run a big race in the seven-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton on Saturday (8.15). He stayed on well to be a close fifth over course and distance last time in what looked to be a stronger race and can supplement last December’s course and distance win from a more favourable draw than last time’s. The last of his three wins on the All-Weather last winter was achieved off a 5lb higher mark, while in-form pair Seychelloise and Wink Oliver have both been elevated well above their last winning ratings.
ABE LINCOLN (Nap)
12.50 Lingfield (Saturday)
2.35 Lingfield (Saturday)
3.45 Lingfield (Saturday)
RICH AGAIN (ew)
8.15 Wolverhampton (Saturday)