Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft previews Wednesday evening’s Fast Track Qualifier for the Mile Final on Good Friday, the Listed Hyde Stakes, and a competitive staying handicap featuring several likely Marathon Final contenders.

  • Monday 19 November
  • Blog
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STRAIGHT IS RIGHT ON TRACK FOR MILE FINAL

Andrew Balding’s improving four-year-old STRAIGHT RIGHT can claim his place in the £15,000 Mile Final on Good Friday by winning the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park on Wednesday (6.40).

Oisin Murphy’s mount has impressed me in back-to-back wins over 7f at Newcastle and Chelmsford City and looks ready to take on higher calibre opposition over a trip he has won at twice in France.

He is drawn widest of all in stall 11 but should have the speed to work his way into a race that might not be run at a fast tempo, given the lack of obvious pace angles in the line-up.

A fascinating opponent is reigning Middle Distance Champion Victory Bond, who surprisingly side-stepped Saturday’s Listed Churchill Stakes - a race he was runner-up in last year - in favour of this.

He must prove himself over this shorter trip against some smart milers and races right-handed on synthetics for the first time. He clearly has the class to make an impact if he gets a generous pace to take aim at, but that is far from assured.

Silver Quartz is an interesting debutant in this code having won a 1m handicap at Ascot before leaving Hugo Palmer to join another upwardly mobile young trainer, Archie Watson. He must improve again but can acquit himself well against his elders from a potentially favourable low draw.

JOHNSTON ACE SHOULD BE CHERRY RIPE

Popular grey WATERSMEET can enhance his record as one of the most prolific winners on the All-Weather by winning the valuable 32Red Handicap at Kempton Park on Wednesday (7.10).

Mark Johnston’s stayer ran as well as could be expected on his return from a break when fourth in the Listed Floodlit Stakes over an inadequate 12f at this track last time.

Twice placed in the Marathon Final, this former Fast Track Qualifier winner over course and distance should be cherry ripe for a step back up to 2m in the hands of regular partner Joe Fanning.

He can make all from an ideal draw in stall 2 to repel James Fanshawe’s fellow course winners Lord George and Higher Power, who both return from a short lay off.

The former came within and ace of landing last season’s Good Friday Final but shouldering a welter burden of 10st, and giving Watersmeet 3lb, may just take his measure. In fact, he was well and truly put in his place by Johnston’s trailblazer earlier this year and is worse off at the weights this time.

Similar concerns apply to Higher Power, winner of the Northumberland Plate last year, but well behind Watersmeet in this summer’s renewal.

Surfing The Sand
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