Tag Archives: Pontefract

Thursday Selections: September, 19th 2019

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3.00 Ayr: Class 5 Handicap, 1 Mile

Despite a big field this race is a rather uncompetitive one with only few appearing to be anywhere near what you’d describe as well-handicapped. There is no doubt, that when on a going day, Vive La Difference is surely one who is well-handicapped, though.

The 5-year-old gelding has been struggling to find his best for a while, certainly starting slowly on pretty much every occasion doesn’t help. At the same time a few performances have been promising this year, when not far beaten in competitive races at Wetherby or Ripon earlier this season.

Vive La Difference has fallen quite a bit in his handicap mark, now 10lb lower than he started the season. He ran twice in his career to topspeed ratings of higher than 70, and a number of times around his current handicap mark of 68, including this year.

That gives hope that today of a near career lowest mark he can run a big race with conditions sure to suit, particularly if first time blinkers can help sharpen him up at the beginning of the race.

Selection:
10pts win – Vive La Difference @ 11.5/1 MB

……

3.10 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f

I was keen on Aiya the last time at Thirsk. Things didn’t pan out as hoped, but the gelding conveniently dropped another 3lb in the mark and also to a more suitable 1m 2f trip, I believe.

Most what I talked about in my analysis leading up to the Thirsk race still holds true today:

The 4-year-old was a little bit unlucky not get his head in front on grass yet, because he got close at Redcar when beaten by a neck back in May.  He ran to topspeed 80 in that mentioned Redcar race and clocked 77 on the All-Weather in the past.

With conditions likely to suit – fast ground and 10f delivered his career best of an 80 ORR and a TS 80 – and a decent draw, there is no reason why Aiya shouldn’t run a massive race today.

Selection:
10pts win – Aiya @ 10/1 MB

Sunday Selections: August, 18th 2019

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3.30 Pontefract: Listed Fillies’ Stakes, 6f

Intriguing contest for the reasons of the strange track Pontefract is, with blurry ground conditions (good to soft, but a balmy day forecast) and certainly no standout performer in the field.

The 4/1 favourite Perfection isn’t quite as perfect as the name may suggest. A visor fitted for the first time shows she filly needs a little help to find some extra. She drops down to 6 furlongs, which shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and given she ran really well in higher class the last two times, she is well respected and sets a fair standard.

However, her best always came on faster ground, certainly judged on topspeed, and 6f at Ponti from a wide draw appears to be quite a tough test, while she also has to give weight away to her younger rivals today.

Shades Of Blue is an interesting alternative, if she can put her best foot forward over 6 furlongs. A wide draw makes life difficult, with a bit of cut in the ground also not sure to suit over this distance.

I reckon the progressive Princes Des Sables is a viable alternative at double figure prices. There are questions over the merit of her runaway victory at Haydock ten days ago. Which came after two disappointing efforts in June and July at this very venue when had a belated start to the season.

I think you can take that potentially as an excuse, that she needed the outings. Her Haydock performance produced a 90 topspeed rating, which is a believable improvement for age and experience on her previous 86 best, plus an RPR of 101. Judged on that she will have to improve again  a little bit to be fighting it out for the win today, but who says she can’t?

Still generally on the lightly raced side, only three starts this season, she gets perfect conditions with a bit of cut in the ground, 6f sure to suit, the track, despite her previous poor showings here, should suit, she has a perfect draw to attack which suits her usually aggressive racing style.

Her sire Monsieur Bond has a superb record at Pontefract, particularly over 6f, and the jockey/trainer combo is highly successful as well. Plenty to like about Princes Des Sables in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Princes Des Sables @ 11/1 MB

Friday Selections: July, 19th 2019

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5.00 Nottingham: Class 6 Handicap, 8.5f

Compelling race for such a low grade: Baashiq and Admodum are high on my list, and the betting reflects it. But the lightly raced – on turf at least – Duchess Of Avon is an even more intriguing candidate.

He’s had only three starts on turf to date, of those he was close runner-up last season, achieving a career best effort with a neck beaten effort of a mark of 65 and running to a topspeed of 66. He probably needed his comeback run at Brighton in May after a 3 months long break, when he looked dangerous until fading in the final furlong.

He appeared in much better shape last time out at Brighton again, over a mile, winning a shade cozily, taking advantage of a career lowest handicap rating. That form looks rock solid.

With that in mind, the 4lb hike in the mark and slightly better race today may not stop Duchess Of Avon to be highly competitive once more, given he may still have a bit more to offer on this surface. Any rain wouldn’t be an issue judged on pedigree.

Selection:
10pts win – Duchess Of Avon @ 6/1 MB

……..

9.05 Pontefract: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

His latest run is a little bit concerning, of a lowered mark I am hopeful that Mr Orange can regain some of his last seasons form, back here at Pontefract with favoured conditions in a race he has already won twice in the past.

It’s this CD that brings the best out of Mr Orange – he has won of a career highest 78 handicap mark in class 3 last July, so now down to 72, a mark he has also won off last year, he could be quite competitive.

To be fair, bar that latest poor performance, Mr Orange ran with plenty of credit in competitive sprints this season. Never too far away, he may simply need to get a little help from the handicapper and find an easier race. All of which seems to be the case today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Orange @ 11/1 MB

Sunday Selections: August, 19th 2018

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4.05 Pontefract: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 

The betting tells the tale: this is incredibly competitive. So it surprises that there is a 6/4 favourite – a wrong one, in my mind. I feel top weight Completion is clearly a cut above the rest on everything form wise we know for now.

That can change, of course, but Completion’s own progress may not yet come to a halt. He’s been disappointing in his last two starts on naked form, however there are fair excuses for it. 10f seemed a step too far last time out and the Heritage Stakes at Royal Ascot a super tough handicap where defeat isn’t a disgrace.

Before that, though, Completion won in excellent style on his turf debut at Redcar and was a formidable runner-up in an ultra competitive Haydock Handicap. Those forms work out really well and the fact he ran to TS ratings of 84 and 92 this year already suggest he is up to his current handicap mark.

Conditions should suit today, he’s got a nice draw and is likely to be positioned not too far off the pace. With top pilot Daniel Tudhope in the saddle Completion has a major chance to find back to the winning ways today.

Selection:
10pts win – Completion @ 7/2 MB

Wednesday Selections: May, 2nd 2018

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Back in the winner’s circle after two rotten days: Slunovrat (3/1) went on to win at Nottingham in a thriller.

…….

4.30 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 6f

Top weight Dandy Highwayman looks potentially overpriced dropping into a slightly easier race than when 10th at Ripon recently. That day he didn’t have things to go for himself with a wall of horses in front of him either.

However, Dandy Highwayman showed last season that he is capable to run to forms warranting his current rating off 82. He’s 2lb higher than his last winning mark but was really consistent last season where most of his races that he ran well in worked out quite well also.

The soft ground is a slight question mark – he has form with cut in the ground, so might be okay, though, ground as deep as today he only encountered once, which was the race a fortnight ago at Ripon.

A wider than ideal draw will make things not easy today. There is no doubt that a career best is required to win. Nonetheless, given he is capable to run to this sort of level, was consistent last year and is in a grade he can win in, I feel he is quite a massive price.

Selection:
10pts win – Dandy Highwayman @ 25/1 VC / ***Non-Runner***

Thursday Selections: April, 26th 2018

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5.55 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 6f

Lightly raced Nathaniel son Mancini makes plenty of appeal here for a red hot yard. Off a seasonal break, with a jockey booked who rides pretty well for trainer Jonathan Portman, this race looks an ideal opportunity for Mancini to get 2018 off to a flyer.

The four year old gelding won a Pontefract maiden last July at the fourth time asking and was subsequently awarded a handicap mark off 73. That looks fair given the runner-up won subsequently and ended the season as a 83 rated individual.

Mancini flopped in handicap company in his final start of the year, though, that was a hot contest that has worked out incredibly well.

Moving down in class, this here looks easier. It’s his first try on the All-Weather, gut on pedigree could suit well. As Mancini already run to a TS rating off 77 when winning at Pontefract, I suspect he could be well handicapped off his current mark in what is only his second handicap start and overall only sixth career outing.

Selection:
10pts win – Mancini @ 13/2 Skybet

Monday Selections: 21/08/2017

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Disappointment with Lomu at Ponti today. Pulled his race away early on as was my main fear. Drop to 7f with pace should suit and this lad has still something to offer.

Still a brilliant week, with 6 winners from 16 selections for a 190.63pts profit. No complaints as the general positive form from spring has clearly translated into summer and hopefully well into autumn, the season I traditionally have struggled in the past.

…..

2.45 Thirsk: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

This appears to be an open contest with a good handful on seemingly handy marks, however the standard is set by Perfect Symphony I feel, who does not get enough credit in the betting for his last two performances.

He showed promise as a juvenile last year and continued this trend in two of three starts this year since returning to the track as a gelding. The last two at Pontefract, probably not quite getting the breaks when needed.

I loved Perfect Symphony’s most recent run a good month ago there over 6f, when travelling well but conceding first run by the eventual winner while he had to wait for the gap to open and show some elbows to go through, yet he found plenty once in the clear.

Step up to 7f for the first time should suit on pedigree, his sire has a really good record over this trip and the dam raced over further. He seems to settle well in his races so over-exuberance shouldn’t be an issue here.

Selection:
10pts win –  Perfect Symphony @ 8/1 Bet365

……

4.15 Thirsk: Maiden Stakes, 7f

Naaeebb looks a wrong price. Yes, the form looks great, but he finished a long way down the field so hard to say he’s anywhere near as good as those promising individuals ahead of him.

Fair favourite should be the relatively consistent Dance Teacher. However she finds it hard to get her head in front and may find one better yet again.

I do not often go with an unraced newcomer and usually get burned, but given their is a clear lack of depth in this maiden race I feel Kevin Ryan’s expensive yearling Sacred Way is worth a nibble.

Fetched gns 115k as a yearling and makes a belated debut, already gelded. So things clearly didn’t go to plan. Nonetheless he is related so some fine individuals and if he can overcome inexperience and a less than ideal draw can win.

There is an interesting fact he has on his side: sire stats. Oasis Dream has a tremendous record at Thirsk with his 3yo offspring. So at 14’s I’m happy to back his son in this contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Sacred Way @ 14/1 Skybet