Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft previews the latest Fast Track Qualifier, the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park on Wednesday night, when a place in the Mile Final come Easter is up for grabs.

  • Monday 16 November
  • Blog
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William Haggas can claim a place in the Mile Final on Good Friday with the progressive JOHAN in Season 8’s latest Fast Track Qualifier at Kempton Park on Wednesday.

The in-form three-year-old holds an outstanding chance in the British Stallion Studs EBF Listed Hyde Stakes (6.55), stepping up in grade following handicap wins at Ayr and Chelmsford City.

He gave a stylish beating to a strong Class 2 field on the Polytrack last month, making most of the running before drawing clear on his All-Weather debut.

The lightly raced Khuzaam hasn’t been seen in action since going down narrowly in this race 12 months ago. Roger Varian has clearly targeted this race for the front-running son of Kitten’s Joy who is drawn to attack but will have to be at his sharpest to shake off the strong-finishing Johan.


Ralph Beckett is getting a taste for All-Weather success and can maintain his good form with ROCK EAGLE in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap (7.25) at Kempton Park on Wednesday.

The Classic-winning trainer enjoyed a win with sand debutant Ice Station Zebra at Southwell on Sunday and can follow up with a gelding who has the All-Weather in his genes.

Rock Eagle has never raced on synthetics but is a half-brother to Highland Knight, Great Shot and Wild Shot, who all excelled in this sphere.

What’s more, his dam Highland Shot was an All-Weather winner herself and I take her five-year-old son to lay down his credentials for the Marathon Final in this 2m feature following a creditable fifth in the Cesarewitch.

Beckett knows what it takes to win the stayers’ championship, having succeeded with Moonrise Landing in 2016.

An obvious danger is Alan King’s November Handicap hero On To Victory, who runs in thus instead of the Class 2 1m4f handicap, and will have no problem with the longer trip but must prove his aptitude for a turning track and concedes 6lb to my selection.


JOHNNY DRAMA can supplement his impressive course win when he re-appears in the Try Our New Super Boosts At Unibet Handicap (8.00) at Kempton Park on Wednesday.

Andrew Balding’s five-year-old looked a natural when taking a similar grade handicap earlier this month, staying on with gusto despite racing keenly.

Clearly better for wind surgery, as well as the switch to sand, he looks ready-made for this slight step up to 1m4f and can defy a 6lb rise.

Brian Meehan has booked Ryan Moore for his three-year-old Cepheus, who is better than he showed when getting bogged down in bad ground at Doncaster last time. He ran well on his only try on Polytrack over course and distance in July and has a 5lb weight for age allowance in his favour.

I’m also hoping to see the Charlie Fellowes-trained Pirate King run well on his return from a setback. He was unbeatable in three handicaps at Lingfield Park last winter but will need to excel himself to make a winning re-appearance.

Surfing The Sand

Kempton 18:55, 18 November 2020

Kempton 19:25, 18 November 2020

Kempton 20:00, 18 November 2020

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