The action at Pontefract on Sunday may not bear much comparison with that we enjoyed at Royal Ascot this week, but there are still plenty of big names set to be in attendance, with one combination, in particular, catching the eye.
At the time of writing, Danny Tudhope has enjoyed 15 winners from 23 runners when riding for William Haggas this season – translating to a remarkable 65% strike rate – and arguably their most high-profile successes together came at the Royal meeting, courtesy of Addeybb in the Wolferton and Move Swiftly in the Duke of Cambridge.
The pair team up again with Monica Sheriff in Pontefract’s three-year-old minor event at 2.55pm, and she would appear to hold sound claims if building on the promise of her Haydock success last-time-out. She appeared to relish the increased emphasis on stamina that day, well suited by the longer trip and testing conditions, and it would be no surprise if she proved capable of following up under a penalty – she remains open to more improvement after only two starts, and her proven ability to act with give in the ground is a big plus.
The Mark Johnston/Franny Norton combination is another that needs no introduction, with a Chester Cup success already on their CV together this season, and they are fancied to land Sunday’s feature race, too, with Bayshore Freedom looking a sound bet in the fillies’ listed heat at 4.00pm. Indeed, the career best she posted to win at Chelmsford on Wednesday is by far the best form on offer here, and this consistent sort looks sure to give it another good go from the front, with a previous win over this C&D – albeit at a much lower level – already to her name.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Franklin Street looks an interesting newcomer in the maiden that kicks off Tipperary’s card at 2.05pm. A €50,000 purchase as a yearling, he certainly has the pedigree to suggest that he will be a precocious sort, by No Nay Never and a half-brother to Captain Dunne, who won over five furlongs as a two-year-old himself, before developing into a smart performer later in his career. Trainer Joseph O’Brien saddles plenty of first-time-out winners (£18.10 level stakes profit with debutants), and this could be another one in a race where those with previous experience don’t set the bar all that high.
Finally, Basic Law looks arguably the best bet of the day in the nine-furlong handicap at 4.15pm. He completed a hat-trick in last-gasp fashion at Leopardstown earlier this month, with the way he finished his race suggesting that the step back up in trip will be in his favour here. Ger Lyons’ charge isn’t the type to win by far – his three wins have been achieved by a combined winning margin of less than half a length – and the feeling is that we are only just scratching the surface of his potential, with an opening mark of 92 looking more than fair.