Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft spotlights the key races at Lingfield Park and Chelmsford City this weekend and takes a longer-range look at Monday’s Fast Track Qualifier at Kempton Park.

  • Thursday 16 January
  • Blog
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STRONG CASE FOR UNEXPOSED STAYER FURZIG

Richard Fahey can maintain his profitable run on the All-Weather when FURZIG re-appears in the Betway Handicap (1.00) at Lingfield Park on Saturday.

The five-year-old made it three from eight on synthetics when beating Original Choice more comfortably than the neck margin suggested on his first try over this 1m4f on New Year’s Eve.

He has been raised only 2lb for that performance and has the tactical speed to confirm the form with Connor Murtagh again taking off a useful 3lb.

The remarkable veteran Pactolus will be a good barometer to the form but giving 12lb to his younger rival is likely to prove a tough task, even though he does have the peerless Adam Kirby for company.

Another likeable old stager Battle Of Marathon can get involved off bottom weight, despite his 4lb rise for a course and distance win. Placed in a Winter Derby in his pomp, he remains well treated on his best form but may still struggle to match 1m and 10f winner Furzig’s turn of foot.

NECTAR SO SWEET IN LINGFIELD SPRINT

TASTE THE NECTAR can improve upon two near misses when he return to action in the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap (2.10) at Lingfield Park on Saturday.

Robert Cowell’s dual Polytrack winner fairly flew home off the home turn after getting too far back in a course and distance handicap last time, only just failing to reel in Gold Brocade.

Narrowly denied again at Wolverhampton before that, he has been given a chance by the handicapper who has left his mark unchanged for this assignment.

This time Sean Davis - one of last year’s top apprentices - takes over and claims a useful 3lb to make his case even more appealing.

HOMBRE READY TO STRIKE IN LOWER GRADE

A drop in class can work the oracle for consistent sprinter EL HOMBRE in the Bet totetrifecta At totesport.com Handicap (6.15) at Chelmsford City on Saturday.

Keith Dalgleish’s gelding has been swapping punches with some of the best speed exponents on the All-Weather, emerging with credit in a hot handicap at Wolverhampton and a Fast Track Qualifier at Newcastle.

He was 7lb wrong with Good Effort over an inadequate 5f at Gosforth Park last week but stuck gamely to his task to be beaten little more than two lengths.

Stepping back up to his optimum 6f can see him capitalise on a workable mark in these calmer waters, and this first attempt around the Essex circuit should play to his strengths.

Even though he is a hold-up performer, the excellent Joe Fanning can be relied upon to be well poised in a race that doesn’t offer an obvious pace angle.

Savalas will have his supporters after improving to finish a close second over 5f at this venue and could be better suited by the extra furlong, but he was behind El Hombre at Wolverhampton two starts ago.

SPRINTING YOUNG GUNS ON FAST TRACK AT KEMPTON

MAYSTAR, who has already clinched his place in this year’s 3YO Final on Good Friday, heads the cast for that category’s latest Fast Track Qualifier at Kempton Park on Monday, the 6f 32Red Conditions Stakes (2.45).

Archie Watson’s gelding landed a similar race at Wolverhampton before Christmas en route to claiming a valuable prize in Qatar and is out to emulate Watson’s 2018 All-Weather champion Corinthia Knight come Finals Day.

Top rated on 97, he could come up against the horse who finished closest to him at Dunstall Park, the Keith Dalgleish-trained Get Boosting, who has since been beaten by another Watson entry, It’Smabirthday, in a novice event at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.

EYECATCHERS:

IRON HEART

Andrew Balding’s daughter of Muhaarar has improved with every run and will be one to have on your side in handicaps after finishing strongly behind favourite Harrison Point in a 7f novice stakes at Southwell last week. She started slowly and jockey David Probert dropped a rein inside the final 2f but she still found her stride to come home strongly. This trip looks ideal for now.

TRUE SCARLET

This filly has twice gone close in 1m novice races on the All-Weather and made a particularly strong impression at Lingfield last time, staying on with purpose on a sharp track that didn’t play to her strengths. She will be of greater interest when faced with a galloping test and possibly a step up in trip. Her opening mark of 77 is workable.

MARCELA DE VEGA

Ralph Beckett, who has made his reputation with middle-distance fillies, has improved this daughter of Lope De Vega run by run and she had a near miss when upped to 1m4f at Wolverhampton last time. This half-sister to Cesarewitch winner Stratum wasn’t entitled to beat the 1/5 favourite but was doing some strong work at the end and she, too, can make use of an initial rating of 77.

SHOWU

Tony Carroll’s filly was sidelined by a fractured pelvis last year, not long after joining the yard, but made a pleasing return to the track when finishing well in fourth in a 5f Newcastle handicap last week. An added bonus is the 1lb she gets back from the handicapper for that effort and I expect this daughter of Showcasing to go close next time for her in-form handler.

Surfing The Sand

Lingfield 13:00, 18 January 2020

Lingfield 14:10, 18 January 2020

Chelmsford City 18:15, 18 January 2020

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