Surfing The Sand

Wolverhampton takes centre stage this weekend with two high-calibre handicaps. Our All-Weather specialist Simon Mapletoft previews the action and reveals five more Eyecatchers for your ATR Tracker.

  • Thursday 29 November
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Progressive three-year-old SALUTE THE SOLDIER can complete an All-Weather hat-trick in the Handicap (7.45) over the extended 1m at Wolverhampton on Saturday.

Clive Cox’s lightly raced gelding got off the mark in impressive style over 7f at Chelmsford City last month before readily defying a 6lb rise over 1m at Kempton a week later.

Adam Kirby, who was on board that day, retains the ride on the son of Sepoy who can make light work of some admirable though exposed opponents en route to better things.

William Haggas takes him on with Original Choice, who has often given the impression he can win big races but has been a little disappointing, including when getting run out of it in third at the business end of a Lingfield handicap two weeks ago.

He must concede weight all round from a 1lb higher mark so may struggle to turn the form around with Lingfield runner-up Mythical Madness, a multiple winner at this track and the only course and distance scorer in the line up.


Godolphin filly DUBAI ONE can capitalise on a falling mark in the Follow Top Tipster Templegate At Sun Racing Handicap (7.15) over 7f at Wolverhampton on Saturday - a possible stepping stone to the Fillies and Mares Final on Good Friday.

Lightly raced since struggling to make her mark at Meydan in the winter, Saeed Bin Suroor’s four-year-old was a solid third behind track specialist Lucymai on her first try at 7f at Chelmsford City back in August.

She is undeniably well treated on the form of her Lingfield win over 6f last December and, being unexposed over the this trip, can stake a strong claim from a good draw in stall four.

Indeed, victory at the scene of her Fast Track Qualifier win in 2016 would put her in the right ratings bracket for a crack at the better fillies’ races with the £150,000 distaff final surely in connections’ minds given her no show at last season’s Carnival.

An obvious danger is David O’Meara’s consistent gelding Areen Heart, who has posted three robust efforts in defeat since winning over this trip at Lingfield in September.
A strong traveller, he had the re-opposing Breaking Records behind when getting collared by Gentlemen at Chelmsford at the start of the month.

Well berthed in stall three, he could make a bold bid to defy a career-high mark in the hands of the red-hot Adam Kirby but it’s worth noting that he has proven vulnerable when hitting the front on both of his last two starts.



William Haggas seems keen to get this son of Camacho a bit more racing experience on the synthetics and a maiden or novice stakes could come his way in the next few weeks following his encouraging third at Wolverhampton last weekend. He stayed on sweetly in a 7f maiden despite racing a little keenly in the early stages and then showing traits of greenness under pressure. He remains on a learning curve and, being out of a 1m4f All-Weather winner, will stay further.


Philip Kirby’s gelding has now finished second on all three starts at Newcastle, including when demoted in the stewards’ room having passed the post first in a valuable handicap on Good Friday. Last week’s effort in an extended 1m4f handicap signalled a return to form on his favoured track after a few below par efforts on turf, including in the Cesarewitch. The ex-Sir Michael Stoute five-year-old has been nudged up another 3lb to a mark of 98, but stays well and strikes me as an ideal candidate for the Fast Track Qualifier for the Marathon Final over 2m at Newcastle on 15th December.


Jedd O’Keeffe and connections paid 45,000 gns for this former Charles Hills-trained gelding at the Horses in Training Sales and he can begin to repay that price tag imminently judged on his stable debut at Newcastle last week. Settled off the pace, he was produced with a taking late run to finish fifth to the impressive Big Kitten (one of my 10 to Follow). This three-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor has won at the trip but also scored over 1m4f at Salisbury in July and was third over 12.5f at Gosforth Park for Hills, so will appreciate further. He looks fairly treated on a mark of 79.


John Gosden’s debutants continue to be of interest following so many high-profile successes on sand and this son of Frankel is no exception after posting a pleasing effort at Wolverhampton last weekend. He blew the start of his extended 1m novice stakes and then endured a wide trip but still ran on in taking fashion to finish fourth behind some well-regarded rivals including James Tate’s winner Fields Of Athenry. A similar race should be a formality.


George Baker’s seasoned sprinter has no particular secrets but has been given a real chance by the handicapper and looks set to capitalise when the cards fall in his favour. He was drawn wider than ideal in a 5f handicap at Lingfield Park last weekend but knuckled down to his task well to bustle up the better placed Captain Lars. He has dropped 19lb in the ratings since last summer and can end his drought when granted a more attacking draw.

Surfing The Sand

Wolverhampton 19:15, 1 December 2018

Wolverhampton 19:45, 1 December 2018

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