Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft spotlights the feature races at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day and looks ahead to the best of the action at the West Midlands track on Friday. Both fixtures are live on Sky Sports Racing.

  • Monday 23 December
  • Blog
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O’MEARA TO CAPITALISE ON KACHY’S SURPRISE ABSENCE

With sprint king Kachy a surprise absentee, David O’Meara’s SUMMERGHAND can transfer some classy turf form to the All-Weather in the Boxing Day feature at Wolverhampton, the Betway Conditions  (4.55).

Kachy had been reported in great form ahead of his much-anticipated return in a race he lowered the track record in 12 months ago, but connections chose not to declare and will now aim for the Listed Cleves Stakes in February.

Owner Dave Lowe told me: “Tom (Dascombe) felt we didn’t need to push him at this stage for just a conditions race and is confident he can get him ready to go first time up at Lingfield in February as obviously the main goal is Finals Day.”

Now the £20,000 race has been thrown wide open Summerghand looks the one to concentrate on. He failed to get his head in front on turf this year but ran some mighty races in defeat, making the frame in the Stewards’ Cup, the Great St Wilfred Handicap, the Ayr Gold Cup and a valuable heritage handicap at Ascot in October.

Whilst much of his best form has been achieved on straight tracks on turf, he has already proven himself on speed tracks on sand, winning twice around Chelmsford City.

His current mark of 100 (eased from 102) makes him competitive enough at the weights and the gelding - well drawn and the mount of Shane Gray - is preferred to All-Weather stalwarts Corinthia Knight, Royal Birth and Merhoob, who all appear to have similar credentials.

Corinthia Knight could easily bounce back from two low-key efforts off big weights in handicaps. His record in Stakes races is much better as he demonstrated when finishing close behind Royal Birth in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield in November.

Royal Birth again finished just ahead of Hollie Doyle’s mount in a 5f handicap at Dunstall Park last weekend but re-opposes on 5lb worse terms in this grade so may just struggle to confirm the form, especially if Corinthia Knight is allowed to dominate.

There’s not much between Archie Watson’s 2018 3YO Champion and Merhoob on recent form and although the latter was narrowly beaten by Summerghand at Chelmsford last year he is entitled to run his usual game race from off the pace.

Kevin Frost would prefer to run his stable star Documenting over 7f but a lack of suitable opportunities forces him to drop back in distance. He may rely on Corinthia Knight putting a searching pace to the race but the likelihood is that he will find this 6f just too sharp.

JOHNSTON RUNNER CAN SMILE BEYOND A MILE

Mark Johnston’s SMILE A MILE can run a big race against mainly exposed opposition when he steps up in distance in the Betway Handicap (3.55) at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day.

The son of Slade Power ran an eye-catching race on only his second start on the All-Weather when flying home from a hopeless position at Chelmsford City last time. He was completely detached turning for home but got within about three lengths of the winner in a decent 1m handicap.

Four times successful on turf this year, he promises to be ideally suited by the step up to 9.5f at Dunstall Park, where he should be able to get into a much better rhythm.

What’s more, Smile A Mile gets 1lb back from the handicapper for his latest assignment which puts him on a mark just 3lb higher than the one he dominated off at Pontefract in August.

Stuart Williams’s admirable veteran Pactolus has nothing in hand of the assessor but has run some of his gamest races when the odds have been stacked against him. He must give 12lb to Smile A Mile but is sure to be in the mix and will be a good yardstick for the merits of this form.

BUBBLE HAS MORE THAN A SQUEAK IN FILLIES’ FEATURE

BUBBLE AND SQUEAK needed 10 attempts to get off the mark on the All-Weather but if declared can follow up in the Ladbrokes Home Of The OddsBoost EBF Fillies’ handicap (3.40) at Wolverhampton on Friday.

Sylvester Kirk’s filly - successful in a valuable handicap at Ascot in the early summer - remains well handicapped despite a 3lb rise and can confirm last month’s course and distance form with Stay Classy.

That filly received 20lb from Bubble And Squeak if you take her jockey Angus Villiers’ claim into account and although she has won since, isn’t weighted too turn the tables.

Solar Heights looked progressive in winning two 1m handicaps at Chelmsford City but couldn’t cope with the step up in grade there last time. She remains some 20lb higher than she was for the first of those wins, so has plenty to prove.

Surfing The Sand

Wolverhampton 15:55, 26 December 2019

Wolverhampton 16:55, 26 December 2019

Wolverhampton 15:40, 27 December 2019

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