Surfing The Sand

Wolverhampton stages the latest Fast Track Qualifier on Monday, when a guaranteed place will be up for grabs in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final on Good Friday. Preview: Simon Mapletoft.

  • Sunday 03 January
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On the face of it, the improving AMNIARIX faces a stiff task at the weights in the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (6.20) at Wolverhampton on Monday.

But I expect Ed Walker’s progressive filly to bridge the ratings gap in this Fast Track Qualifier and claim her place in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday. The daughter of Speightstown, who has top jockey Richard Kingscote in the saddle, can prove she is well ahead of her mark of 83 by beating top rated rival Shimmering Dawn, who has 16lb in hand on official figures.

Amniarix got off the mark on her handicap debut with a telling late burst over course and distance in November and comfortably defied an 8lb rise to follow up over 1m at Kempton Park last month. Back at this trip, her impressive gear change can see her get the better of James Tate’s likeable filly Shimmering Dawn, who won a 7f conditions race at Lingfield last time having scored over 6f at Chelmsford City in September. Despite having a stone in hand at the Surrey track, she took a while to find her stride and was all out to repel the 80-rated Queen’s Course, who arrived in good form but lacks the scope and potential of Amniarix.

Archie Watson has claims with the front-running Dancing Feet, who has won around Kempton this winter and posted another pleasing effort in a similar race over course and distance in November. Even with the excellent Holly Doyle on board, she again looks vulnerable to a rival with the finishing speed of Amniarix, however. Dancing Feet finished just in front of Richard Spencer’s Odyssey Girl when they were both in the rear tackling Listed company in France over Christmas, and is also closely matched with the trainer’s other representative, Stay Classy. Starry Eyes isn’t entitled to turn the tables on Amniarix on Kempton running and would make more appeal in a handicap off her falling mark - a comment that applies to recent course and distance winner Amber Island.



David Loughnane’s four-year-old - a Doncaster winner and runner-up in York’s Coral Sprint Trophy - confirmed his progress on turf last season by closing down the classy Misty Grey in the 7f feature handicap at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day. A 3lb rise to a mark of 98 shouldn’t prove prohibitive and he can go on to stake a claim in the New Year for a crack at the 6f Sprint Final.


North Yorkshire trainer Grant Tuer continues to impress with his relatively small string and this two-year-old showed his improved third over 8.5f at Wolverhampton was no fluke when making the frame again in a 1m novice stakes at Newcastle on Monday. He was denied a clear run at a crucial stage but finished best of all to close down 1-3 favourite Duel In The Sun and the runner up at the line. He is one to follow in handicaps in the New Year.


The £10,500 connections paid for this gelding at Doncaster Sales in September looks money well spent following an encouraging start at Newcastle on 28th December. The lightly raced son of Shamardal kept on well to finish a close third to Jewel Maker over 1m on his handicap debut and looks open to considerable progress from his mark of 63.


Though modest, David Evans can place this filly to win an early three-year-old handicap on the strength of her strong-finishing fourth in a 7f Wolverhampton nursery on Wednesday. She was always playing catch up from her wide draw and despite having a mountain to climb off the home turn, the daughter of Anjaal fairly flew home. She may even be worth a step up to 1m.  


Ed Walker’s progressive Amniarix is the stand-out entry among seven possible opponents in the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Fillies Conditions Stakes (5.50) at Wolverhampton on Monday - a Fast Track Qualifier for the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final on Good Friday. Already successful over this 7f, she defied an 8lb rise in a 1m handicap at Kempton Park last time and, despite having work to do at the weights, looks well ahead off her revised mark of 83.

Misty Grey once again showed his star quality in winning Wolverhampton’s feature 7f handicap on Boxing Day, taking his record to three from three for Tom Dascombe. A strong traveller with a telling turn of foot, he remains one of the most impressive performers of Season 8 so far and must rate among the major contenders at the mid-season point for the 6f Sprint Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is no stranger to Good Friday glory and has a strong contender himself for the Sprint Final in lightly raced five-year-old On The Warpath, who won the 6f conditions stakes on Wolverhampton’s Boxing Day card. Third in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield Park in November on his first start since the summer, he overcame a wide position to power home off a mark of 105 and needs only one more run (possibly the Listed Kachy Stakes back at Lingfield) to qualify.

Meanwhile, Jim Goldie has a dark horse for the 3YO Championship in the rapidly improving Water Of Leith, who defied a penalty to beat Mick Appleby’s well-regarded Warrior Brave in a 6f Wolverhampton novice over the holiday. Owners Flash Figs Racing plan to aim the son of Kodiac at the Lingfield Park showpiece, and why not? After this performance he is likely to be rated in the early 90s with more opportunities en route.

Finally, the All-Weather Championships lost a dear friend on Boxing Day when the Mick Appleby-trained Big Country collapsed and died at Wolverhampton. The seven-year-old - in his prime a star of the Middle Distance Championships - gave his devoted owners The Horse Watchers some amazing memories, including when winning the Listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract, the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar and the Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton in 2018. There was also something special about winning with the big bay at Chelmsford in December after buying him back at the autumn sales following a spell with Jamie Osborne.

Surfing The Sand

Wolverhampton 18:20, 4 January 2021

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