LEADING Malton-based amateur rider Niki Wilson makes the long journey down to Lingfield today in the hope of booting Stallone (3.50) to victory in the closing mile-and-a-half race.

Niki rides the gelding for her husband, Noel, who has trained Stallone throughout the last couple of years having previously been in the care of both Jeremy Noseda and Dandy Nicholls.

Proven on grass but not on the polytrack, backers of Stallone are going to have to take a risk that the northern raider is going to be able to mirror his useful turf form on the man-made surface at the Surrey venue.

In deciding whether the gamble is worthwhile, it is interesting to note that Stallone has produced most of his best results on fast ground, which according to race-times equates more-or-less exactly to the polytrack.

Using that invaluable evidence, I venture to suggest that Stallone will handle the underfoot conditions. Indeed his hold-up style might also stand him in good stead since many of the winners at the course seem to come from well off the pace.

Much earlier on in proceedings, Mimic (3.20) makes plenty of appeal in the seven-furlong handicap.

Rae Guest's sprinter hit the target at Salisbury in mid-summer, after which she put in some less than commendable efforts, including one dismal visit to Redcar in the autumn, where she was virtually tailed off.

While so out-of-sorts it was far from surprising that she went off at the unfancied odds of 20-1 when a close-up third over six furlongs on her most recent outing at Wolverhampton.

The abrupt turnaround represented a welcome return to form for Guest's filly, who was doing all of her best work in the latter stages of the race, giving rise to the theory that today's extra furlong could bring about even more improvement.

Newton Abbot hosts the longest event of the day, the three-and-a-quarter-mile South West Racing Club Handicap Chase.

There are going to be a lot of tired legs come the climax of the marathon, but the one in my view most likely to relish the test of stamina is Commanche Jim (3.00), who shaped up nicely when fourth in a stronger contest last time out.

The tried-and-tested formula of backing horses for courses works well at Towcester, boding well for the prospects of former track and trip scorer, Steve The Fish (2.10), in the Sky Bet Handicap Hurdle.

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