Horse Racing tips: 4 to score from the trading floor at Pontefract and Leopardstown on Thursday

Two tracks, four bets. What's not to love?

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14:20 Pontefract – Araijfan

This is an open enough handicap as these low grade sprint races tend to be but Araijfan looks to have a bit more upside than most here. He was beaten a length over C&D a fortnight ago but was definitely the best horse on the day. He travelled really well from the back of the field and met all kinds of trouble in the final furlong.

For the grade that it is, that looked a decent enough race, anything that has run since hasn’t let the form down either. It’s pleasantly surprising not to see him get a pound or two for that run and back on off a mark of 70, I’d be quite disappointed if he can’t score.

Pontefract

15:20 Pontefract – Escobar

Dark Vision is definitely the standard setter here but Escobar is very likely to go well dropping back in grade, having run in the Queen Anne the last time we saw him. He normally takes a run or two to get going and is best judged on his win in the Balmoral at the end of last year.

Go down through the field and you can’t help but be impressed. Lord North was two lengths behind him and is now rated a stone higher having won the Prince Of Wales Stakes this summer. Glen Shiel was fourth that day and has since won off the same mark and finished 3rd in a Group 3 in France. Pogo, who was down the field in the Balmoral, is now rated 10 lbs higher and finished third in a Group 1 behind Persian King at the weekend.

Dark Vision himself finished down the field that day but likely didn’t enjoy the heavy ground. He’s improved a lot this year for settling better in his races, but it looks as if a bigger field might bring out the best in him rather than a six-runner race like this.

Off level weights, Escobar stands out as the value.

16:00 Leopardstown – Mr Mooj

This will be a decent sized field going to post but I’m not sure many will get close to Mr Mooj at the finish. Plenty of this field look exposed and Mr Mooj just has so much scope to improve and he looks better than an 80 rated horse on what we’ve seen.

You can upgrade his 3rd place finish the last day, he suffered bad interference early in the race which left him right at the back of the field. He went on to come home well but was a never nearer 3rd at the finish and arguably the best horse on the day.

That run and being by Camelot should lead to plenty of improvement at a mile and a half. Shane Crosse rides him, which is a massive plus in a race like this. With so many inexperienced riders to have someone of that calibre is a huge advantage and I’d be quite surprised if Mr Mooj can’t get his head in front again.

Leopardstown-Racing-Flat

17:00 Pontefract – Mark Of Gold

This may only be a Class 4 handicap, but it could be a decent race for the grade with some nice types potentially to come out of it. Two of the thee-year-olds could be the two worth zoning in on, namely King’s Castle and Mark Of Gold. King’s Castle is sure to appreciate the drop back from a mile and a half, he was far too keen last time out and just couldn’t get home.

Mark Of Gold is making his handicap debut and he’s the one I’d side with. The novice race he ran in at Windsor had some nice horses ahead of him. The three ahead of him all raced prominently and he was the only one to make headway from the back. That race was run at a very stop start pace, they stalled in the middle and sprinted home.

For a horse who wants further than a mile, this just didn’t suit him and he’s done quite well to get fourth. He steps up to 10 furlongs today and an opening mark of 75 is very fair. He’s more than capable of doing damage of that sort of mark and hopefully he’ll start in this race.

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