Fes­ti­val Of Ages looks set to con­tinue his resur­gence at Wolver­hamp­ton

The Citizen (KZN) - - RACING EXPRESS - Lon­don

-Fes­ti­val Of Ages can get back on the win­ning trail with vic­tory to­day in the Bet­way Con­di­tions Stakes at Wolver­hamp­ton.

Char­lie Appleby's charge was side­lined for the best part of a year and a half after win­ning a New­mar­ket maiden in the sum­mer of 2017.

How­ever, he was backed off the boards on his re­turn from a near 500-day ab­sence at Kemp­ton in Novem­ber and duly proved his abil­ity re­mains very in­tact with a com­fort­able suc­cess.

He was a warm or­der to fol­low up when stepped up to an ex­tended 3200m at New­cas­tle last month and while favourite­back­ers had their fin­gers burnt, he was not dis­graced in fin­ish­ing sec­ond to Stargazer, who is a high-class stayer in his own right and some­thing of a course spe­cial­ist at Gos­forth Park.

The hand­i­cap­per was im­pressed enough to raise Fes­ti­val Of Ages 2kg to a mark of 98 and, with just four runs un­der his belt, there is ev­ery chance he has not reached the ceil­ing of abil­ity just yet.

Last year's win­ner Watersmeet is a se­ri­ous ri­val in what prom­ises to be an in­for­ma­tive fast-track qual­i­fier for the Al­lWeather Cham­pi­onships, but Appleby's in­mate gets the nod.

The Si­mon Cr­is­ford-trained Sim­ple Thought will not be win­ning out of turn if com­ing good in the Bet­way Novice Stakes.

This daugh­ter of Te­ofilo fin­ished down the field on her only ju­ve­nile start at New­mar­ket, but shaped with far more prom­ise as a three-year-old, plac­ing on four of her five starts in 2018.

She pro­duced what was ar­guably a ca­reer-best per­for­mance when beaten a length into sec­ond in a Kemp­ton maiden on her lat­est out­ing and will not need to im­prove much - if at all - to go one bet­ter.

Dragon Mall is of sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in the Bet­way Casino Hand­i­cap.

This six-year-old achieved a three-fig­ure rat­ing at the peak of his ca­reer with David Sim­cock, but changed hands for the bar­gain-base­ment price of just 4,500 guineas last July.

He was pre­dictably out­classed on his first start for new con­nec­tions in a Kemp­ton Listed event at Novem­ber, but has run well twice since, but re­cently fin­ish­ing sec­ond in a strong race here just a week ago.

Back in a hand­i­cap on a mark of 87, it would be no sur­prise to see him go close for up­wardly mo­bile dual-pur­pose trainer Re­becca Men­zies.

Not Never can make the most of hav­ing his sights low­ered in the In­jured Jock­eys Fund Hand­i­cap Hur­dle at Fon­twell.

Gary Moore's charge reg­is­tered suc­ces­sive wins at Plump­ton in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary of last year, with a 16-length romp for his lat­ter suc­cess earn­ing him a 7kg hike in the weights.

He was pitched in at the deep end on his re­turn to ac­tion in the Bet­fair Ex­change Tro­phy for­merly the The Lad­broke - at As­cot and could only fin­ish in mid­field.

That run will have blown away a few cob­webs and leave him spot on for this eas­ier as­sign­ment.

Steel Na­tive can regis­ter a fourth win at Ffos Las in the Tim Vaughan Rac­ing Sup­port­ing Ffos Las Hand­i­cap Hur­dle.

This eight-year-old has done most of his rac­ing at the Welsh cir­cuit - 17 of his 22 ca­reer starts to be pre­cise - and has been run­ner-up three times to go with his three vic­to­ries.

He won with a bit up his sleeve on his lat­est visit in a hand­i­cap chase and he looks sure to go well again, switch­ing back to the smaller ob­sta­cles.- Press As­so­ci­a­tion

CHAR­LIE APPLEBY.

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