The juveniles with experience don’t set an exacting standard so it could be worth siding with Regional, whose sales prices rose from 35,000 guineas as a foal to 120,000 guineas as a yearling. Regional represents Richard Fahey, whose two-year-olds have started to click into gear of late, and he looks a likely type on paper.
Pavers Pride failed to fire when with Noel Wilson last season but has made an encouraging start for Paul Midgley, finishing runner-up on his first two outings before snapping the losing run at Ayr last week. Everything went smoothly at Ayr, where he led, travelled well and was soon in command after being shaken up entering the final furlong. He looks well treated under this 5 lb penalty and will take the beating.
Saluti seemed in need of the run when finishing in mid-division on his reappearance at Newmarket and he took a big step forward when third in a string race at Doncaster last time. He is coming to the boil nicely and, having been dropped another 1 lb, is on a mark he can exploit.
Dark Vision proved frustrating last season but he has been in cracking this form this term. He ran well to finish runner-up in a red-hot Newcastle handicap on his reappearance and he then improved to snap his losing run in the Royal Hunt Cup, showing a good attitude to squeeze through a gap before staying on powerfully inside the final furlong. He ran just as well in defeat when narrowly failing to confirm the Hunt Cup form with Montatham at Sandown, and he will prove difficult to beat if running to a similar level.
Heaven Forfend hails from a good family – his dam was a dual Group 3 winner – and he showed plenty of promise last season, notably when finishing sixth in the Chesham Stakes. He was a beaten odds-on favourite on his reappearance at Windsor earlier this month but he wasn’t disgraced in second and his pedigree offers hope that he will fare much better in time. This looks a good opportunity for him to get off the mark.
Monash shaped as if in need of the experience when finishing sixth on debut at Windsor, but he did show definite signs of ability, making brief headway over a furlong out, and he should improve for the run. The step up in trip is also likely to suit and he could be a different proposition this time.
Wise Eagle showed ability once getting organised on debut and he built on that promising fourth when justifying support next time, showing a good attitude to get off the mark. He has been given a potentially lenient opening mark and his pedigree suggests that he will improve for the step up in trip, so he has a good chance of providing the in-form Tom Clover with another winner.
French Asset looks the type who might benefit from headgear so the application of blinkers could be a good move. He produced a creditable effort when runner-up at Windsor last time, despite hanging inside the final furlong, and he looks fairly handicapped on that form. He could also have a bigger effort in his locker so is the one to side with.
Timeform’s tips for Pontefract on Thursday
*All odds are bang up to date on our snazzy new widgets*
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