Surfing The Sand

Chelmsford City stages a Fast Track Qualifier double header on Thursday evening and our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft previews both races, which will guarantee the winners a place in the Marathon and Fillies’ and Mares’ Finals respectively at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.

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Ambitious Newmarket trainer John Ryan has launched a twin assault on Chelmsford City’s Fast Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Marathon Final on Thursday evening.

He runs his star stayers AIRCRAFT CARRIER and Grey Britain in the 2m Bet Totequadpot at Conditions Stakes (6.35) - and both hold leading claims.

The former has already secured his place in the Final, having won a Qualifier at Wolverhampton in January, and proved himself around the Essex circuit in a 1m6f handicap before Christmas.

This progressive, unexposed four-year-old - a bargain buy from Ballydoyle for just 27,000 gns - clearly has more to offer and can complete a four-timer en route to Lingfield, with Tom Queally taking over from regular partner Martin Harley, who is in Hong Kong.

Stable companion Grey Britain is officially rated 5lb superior to Aircraft Carrier but carries only 3lb more at Chelmsford. He looks sure to acquit himself well but has produced his best performances this winter on the sharper tracks at Wolverhampton and Lingfield.

Many would have expected to see Mark Johnston’s old war horse Watersmeet in the line-up, but the in-form Middleham trainer runs exciting four-year-old Elegiac instead. This improving young stayer scored a notable victory in a valuable 1m6f handicap at York in October and showed his aptitude for this track when going down narrowly to stable mate Lucky Deal in November.

Another threat may be Giuseppe Botti’s French raider Amade, who impressed when winning over 2m at Kempton Park in the New Year. He has work to do on Thursday’s terms, according to official figures, but could prove better than his mark of 97 so must be respected with Andrea Atzeni a notable booking.

Higher Power, the 2017 Northumberland Plate winner, has come up short in two consecutive Fast Track Qualifiers this winter and looks vulnerable once more, while Hugo Palmer’s To Be Wild has plenty to prove off another lay off.


Mick Channon, who won the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final in 2016 with Volunteer Point, can win Thursday’s Fast Track Qualifier for the Good Friday renewal with the consistent PATTIE.

She can prove tough to beat in the re-arranged Bet Totetrifecta At Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (6.55) over 1m at Chelmsford City.

Pattie has run some solid races in defeat this winter, finishing third in the Listed Hyde Stakes over 1m at Kempton in November before filling the shame position in another 7f Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton.

Though beaten in a Kempton handicap last month, she gave the best part of two stones to subsequent winner Toy Theatre, who was among the entries for this race but hasn’t been declared.

Back in stakes company, she can put her match sharpness to good effect to upset likely favourite Clon Coulis, who is rated 4lb superior to Pattie but must carry a 3lb penalty for last season’s Listed successes on turf.

David Barron’s smart filly has only raced on synthetics once, when she finished fourth to Carolinae in a valuable Fillies’ race at this track last summer. She lacked the gears to pick up the principals over 7f that day and may just be found wanting for sharpness again here on her return from a six-month break.

The remaining three Fillies all have winning form but have a mountain to climb on official figures if they are to trouble Clon Coulis and Pattie.

Surfing The Sand

Chelmsford City 18:25, 7 March 2019

Chelmsford City 18:55, 7 March 2019

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