Guipure failed to make an impact in three starts in maiden company but produced a much more promising performance on her handicap debut over 7f at Newcastle, where she finished runner-up and kept on strongly in the style of one who should be suited by the step up to a mile.
That encouraging performance was her first start for three months, so she is entitled to build on it, and she is expected to be in the shake-up from a favourable draw in stall two. Ambyfaeirvine shaped well on testing ground at Nottingham on Wednesday and is one of the biggest dangers.
Spygate seemed well suited by testing ground when returning to form at Hamilton last month, and that form is just about the best on offer. Spygate stayed on strongly at Hamilton, which, like Pontefract, poses a stiff test of stamina, so he has plenty in his favour. Lincoln Gamble, who is also trained by Richard Fahey, offered something to work on when finishing fourth on debut and is entitled to respect.
Rake’s Progress went up only 4lb for winning at Nottingham recently and makes plenty of appeal under Stefano Cherchi, who has looked good value for his 7lb claim. That win at Nottingham, which was achieved on soft ground, was a career-best effort from Rake’s Progress and he will go close if running to a similar level. Frankelio was below his best at Chester last time but has some form which makes him of interest, and he is worth noting at a big price.
Grand Rock has twice won on heavy ground and has proved he stays a mile so looks set to launch another bold bid. He doesn’t face a simple task as there are some unexposed rivals in opposition, notably Freyja and Wyclif, but Grand Rock has the best form and is also capable of better having improved markedly with each run so far.
The Andrew Balding-trained King Power was below her best at Ascot last time, but she has the best form on offer and handles testing conditions, so she has plenty in her favour. King Power wasn’t disgraced at Ascot, where she simply took too long to get going, and this stiff finish should play to her strengths. Dante’s View also represents a top yard (trained by Sir Michael Stoute) and has shown fairly useful form so is considered the greatest threat.
Arrowtown relishes testing ground and produced her best effort of the season at York last time, where she finished fourth under a patient ride. This stiffer test of stamina is in her favour and she won on her only previous trip to Pontefract, so she is clearly the one to beat.
Militia is in flying form and followed up a win at Ayr by scoring at Musselburgh on Monday. A 5lb penalty for a one-length win make life tougher, but he is clearly thriving, running as well as he ever has, and conditions will be no problem. He makes most appeal in an open contest. Roundhay Park shaped well last time when left with too much to do after being hampered at the start, and he heads a long list of dangers.
*Prices correct at time of publishing