Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft spotlights the two feature races at Chelmsford City on Saturday and has a strong fancy at Newcastle on Friday evening.

  • Thursday 05 November
  • Blog
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ULSHAW BRIDGE posted an eye-catching performance on his return to the All-Weather when beating a subsequent winner and can follow up in the Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Handicap (4.00) at Newcastle on Friday.  

James Bethell’s gelding confirmed the merits of two near misses on turf when beating Boston George, who franked the form in no uncertain style next time, and shouldn’t be anchored by a 3lb rise under his winning rider PJ McDonald.  

Still relatively unexposed on synthetics, the five-year-old may have the most to fear from Dawaaleeb, who ran on well to be third in a similar grade over course and distance last week for the in-form Les Eyre.  


Three promising colts, who all won on debut, go head to head under penalties in the Free Streaming Every UK Race Conditions Stakes (5.30) at Chelmsford City on Saturday.  

To make the form puzzle even more challenging, Mark Johnston saddles two of them, including the dirt-bred LEOPARDO, who made a favourable impression at Newcastle a month ago.  

He overcame inexperience to stretch away from his rivals in a 1m novice on the Tapeta and should have no issue with the step up in trip on this turning, galloping track.  

Leopardo may just have the edge over stable companion Top Of The Pops and Hugo Palmer’s expensive Irish Legend, who both displayed tenacity to score in testing conditions on turf last month.  

Top Of The Pops, the likely pace setter, pulled well clear of his field with eventual second Wallem over Leicester’s 1m and is bred to appreciate the step up in trip, though the runner up that day didn’t exactly frank the form at Newbury 10 days later.  

Irish Legend plugged on in the fashion of a useful stayer in the making when getting off the mark over the extended 1m in heavy ground at Nottingham and also promises to see out the new trip effectively. The three rivals from top stables who chased him home that day have all been beaten since, however.  


Chelmsford City must be bitterly disappointed that their £19,000 added Class 2 staying feature on Saturday, the Handicap (5.00), has attracted only two runners.  

Even with a prize fund reduction of around £12,000 from last year, the 1m6f feature deserves much better support in such challenging times, even though it hasn’t offered any early pointers to the Marathon Championships in the past two runnings.  

Roger Charlton’s WIN O'CLOCK won a similar match in heavy ground at Leicester last week and can follow up off the same mark over this additional quarter mile.  

A triple 10f winner this year, he may just have too much tactical speed for Mark Johnston’s prolific Trumpet Man, who has been a revelation since stepping up in trip, winning his last three starts over 2m.  

The fight for the fractions between apprentice Tom Greatrex on Win O’Clock and the vastly experienced Franny Norton could make compelling viewing, however.



Mark Johnston’s colt would have gone close to winning on his nursery debut at Wolverhampton last weekend but for a poor draw, finishing on the front foot behind Sir Michael Stoute’s Aerion Power. He made a favourable impression when winning a Kempton Park novice previously and can get back on track off an unchanged mark in a similar race over 7f in the coming weeks.  


Rookie trainer Jessica Macey has done well with a handful of runners from her Bawtry base near Doncaster and can pick up a little sprint handicap with Dark Side Prince, who came to win on his handicap debut at Southwell on Tuesday after helping to cut out a strong pace, only to be mugged by Lord Of The Glen, who was given an inspired ride from well off the pace by champion jockey Oisin Murphy.  

Further opportunities will be plentiful on the Fibresand for this son of Equiano who can progress from his lowly mark of 50.  


Mick Appleby’s three-year-old did well to finish second from a much wider draw than the winner Amadeus Grey in a 1m handicap at Southwell last week. It was his best run in three starts following a lengthy break and he has now finished first and second in just two starts on Fibresand.  

A winner at Newcastle and Kempton Park, too, and mentioned favourably in my Stable Tour with Appleby on this site, he has more to offer this winter from a mark of just 74.  


Roger Varian’s debutant was five and a half lengths clear of the third when bustling up the winner of a 1m fillies’ maiden at Newcastle last week. This 280,000 gns half-sister to useful stayer Al Hilalee had to concede first run to her victor but still picked up strongly enough to suggest that a similar race will be well within her compass before being possibly being put away.  


Indie Angel made a big impression when swooping round the field to win the Listed Fleur De Lys Stakes at Lingfield Park last week – a Fast Track Qualifier for the Fillies’ and Mares’ Final.  

John Gosden’s daughter of Dark Angel, who was partnered by Frankie Dettori, showed a smart turn of foot to earn a 12lb rise to a new mark of 103. Gosden won this race last year with Scentasia but didn’t take up the Good Friday invitation so it remains to be seen what the plans may be for this well bred filly.  

How fitting it was to see Paul Hanagan ride his 2,000th domestic winner live on Sky Sports Racing at Newcastle on Tuesday when Anif took the 1m handicap for Michael Herrington.  

That was the scene of the former dual-champion’s horrendous fall back in February when his career was left in the balance by a broken back. It was Paul’s 24th winner since returning to action in August – a haul that includes a Cambridgeshire, a Group 3 and two Listed successes!  

Newcastle was the scene of another landmark achievement when Harrison Shaw – the jockey who is allergic to horses - rode out his claim on Philip Kirby’s Burrows Seeside last week.  

Karl Burke’s hard-working apprentice, who has fought hard to suppress his condition, quickly adjusted to life without that little number three in brackets when scoring on Harry’s Ridge for Eric Alston at Nottingham on Wednesday.  

Apprentice Angus Villiers, who took a crashing fall at Wolverhampton on Monday, tells me he doesn’t expect to be back on the racetrack until Christmas.  

The 18-year-old escaped any broken bones when his mount, the warm favourite Arabian Warrior, clipped heels in the 1m6f handicap but will need time to recover from internal bruising.  

It was Angus’s first ever ride in the Godolphin blue for Saeed Bin Suroor following a successful spell on the All-Weather that included three wins for the in-form Antony Brittain.  

After just over a month on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, popular northern-based rider Cam Hardie will return to the racecard at Newcastle on Friday night with three rides for his main supporter Antony Brittain.  

“It’s been frustrating missing out on a few winners while Antony’s horses have been in such good form but I’m itching to be back better than ever before,” he enthuses.  

Tathmeen could give Hardie a dream comeback winner in the 5.30 after going down by a narrow margin at Wolverhampton on Monday.

Surfing The Sand

Newcastle 16:00, 6 November 2020

Chelmsford City 17:30, 7 November 2020

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