Polastri sets the form standard on account of her good debut second at Catterick although she kept on well over 6f that day and drops to 5f here. Preference is for MIRROR KISSES, who did well to be beaten around 5l on her debut at Sandown given that she was detached early. The Mark Johnston-trained newcomer Chica Bonita has a useful pedigree and could be the chief threat.
Those that have run, with Humid perhaps the pick, do not set an exacting standard so the door is more than half-ajar for a likely-looking newcomer. As such, preference is for SHEM, whose paper credentials are compelling though the betting will obviously tell plenty more. Fellow debutant Artorious may be next best.
Although he has has shown little recently, course specialist Mr Orange is lurking on a dangerous mark so it would be no surprise to see a big run from him, but the vote goes to the lightly raced GRACE AND VIRTUE, who took a big step forward last time at Ayr and should have further improvement in her. Others to consider in a wide-open sprint handicap include Iva Reflection, Kindly and Six Strings.
There might still be more improvement to come from Little Ted, who won twice last month and didn’t get the best of runs when third at Haydock a fortnight ago. However, preference is for unexposed 3yo filly ISOLA BELLA MAY, who kept on well for fifth over 7f on her handicap debut and now moves back up in trip. Back From Dubai is another low-mileage 3yo to consider, while last month’s C&D winner Frankelio seems likely to be on the premises again.
El Picador didn’t get much luck when third at Beverley last time and he’s respected off the same mark, while Baryshnikov has a solid record for his new yard this season and should be in the mix again. However, it is hard to get away from Tim Easterby’s progressive 4yo HIGHWAYGREY (nap), who made it 2-3 at this track when surging clear over C&D last week and is well treated under a penalty for that smooth success.
It will probably look hard work but FRANKENSTELLA has further improvement in her with this additional step up in trip on just her fourth start. Boulevard Beauty produced a similar display when not far behind her at Beverley last time but a larger threat may be posed by Lady Shanawell who makes a much greater step up in trip but looks well worth exploring as a stayer judged on her last two efforts at 1m4f. Blue Beirut also needs a mention.
Mark Johnston’s DREAM WITH ME could be well served by this stiffer track and he’s getting plenty of weight off his elders. Squelch looks a typically progressive filly of Rae Guest’s and she is second choice.
The Sir Mark Prescott-trained 3yo PLEASURE GARDEN is on a roll and can land the four-timer. Mark Johnston saddles an unexposed handicap newcomer in Spanish Persuader, but Archive is an interesting option for the forecast as he’s tended to run well in the last few years on his second start back from a break.
The Racing Post’s tips for Pontefract today
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