Surfing The Sand

Newcastle stages two Fast Track Qualifiers for the £1 million Finals Day on Good Friday and our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft, who will be trackside for Sky Sports Racing, previews the action.

  • Monday 06 January
  • Blog
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Ben Curtis, who maintained his stranglehold on the jockeys’ championship with 11 winners in the first five days of the New Year, can steal the headlines again on a stellar card at Newcastle on Wednesday.

He partners Ismail Mohammed’s GOOD EFFORT in the Betway Conditions Stakes (2.30) - a Fast Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Sprint Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.

The five-year-old heads to Gosforth Park on the back of a conditions race win over 6.5f in France before Christmas and shouldn’t be compromised by this drop back to the minimum trip on such a stiff track.

Good Effort split subsequent winners Watchable and Harry’s Bar over course and distance in November under Curtis and renews rivalry with the former on significantly better terms for a half-length defeat.

Lomu has thrived since joining Iain Jardine, ratting up a handicap double over 5f at Wolverhampton, and looks capable of holding his own in this better grade, even though he has plenty to find with the principals.

Indeed, the son of Dandy Man had three of these rivals behind him last time and poses the biggest threat to Good Effort on a track that should suit his hold-up style.

Karl Burke steps Hareem Queen up in grade following back-to-back wins on the Southwell Fibresand. Her latest second there has been paid a compliment by Tawny Port, who has won again since, but this is a big step up in class.


ANOTHER TOUCH is enjoying a new lease of life on the All-Weather and can provide the answer to a trappy Bombardier Golden Beer Conditions Stakes (3.00) at Newcastle on Wednesday - a Fast Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Mile Championship on Good Friday.

Richard Fahey’s seven-year-old has always been smart - he won a Listed race at Pontefract a couple of years ago - and arrives in the North East in rude health following handicap wins over 1m at Chelmsford City and Lingfield Park.

Ideally suited by a demanding mile, he showed tactical versatility at the Surrey track last time, striking late off a strong pace on such a sharp circuit to gun down Goring and favourite Kuwait Currency.

With Trevithick and Raydiance in the line up, this qualifier promises to be run at a strong enough pace for the gelding to clinch a place in the Easter Final under the in-form Barry McHugh.

On these terms, the bar is set by the likeable Via Serendipity, whose rating of 107 gives him a 12lb advantage over Another Touch. He ran well in the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton in November, despite giving chase to the run-away leader.

However, I’m not convinced there’s a great deal between Stuart Williams’s gelding and my selection, who has boasted a three-figure rating himself in the not too distance past and may just prove better suited to this demanding mile.

Raydiance, who swerves the 7f handicap on the same card to go for this, steps up in trip after beating a smart rival at Southwell last week. A Listed winner at two, he looks firmly back on track but has plenty to find on such difficult terms against two crack milers.

Surfing The Sand

Newcastle 14:30, 8 January 2020

Newcastle 15:00, 8 January 2020

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