Ascot runner-up BALLYCONNEELY BAY can put his experience to good use and is taken to go one better. Fayathaan was a promising third at Newcastle last time but perhaps the main threat will come from the newcomer Smeaton’s Light, whose trainer Mick Channon does well with 2yos here. Bakersboy and Lafan are other debutants to be interested in.
The returning Strike Red is a major player judged on his June promise but the newcomer DARK COMPANY is the selection. He’s got an attractive pedigree and represents the powerful Mark Johnston stable. Fellow debutant My Name’s Nipper shouldn’t be ruled out, even at a big price.
This looks a hot little nursery and QUARANTINI might be the answer. She has shaped as if she is in need of this trip and her pedigree supports that view. The Richard Fahey-trained youngster will need to improve for the longer distance, though, because there are several dangers lurking. Soft Whisper and Spirit Of Bermuda are promising types at the top of the weights, but Envega might pose the biggest threat. She looks likely to improve for the return to a stiffer test.
He may be up in the weights and in grade but four visits to Pontefract this season have yielded four C&D wins for HIGHWAYGREY, and he looked to have more left in the tank when scoring here last time out. The Mark Johnston-trained Arctic Sound is feared most on the back of his good third at Ayr although his 3yo stablemate Dontaskmeagain is an intriguing contender on his return from an absence.
Top weight FLOATING ARTIST (nap) has acquitted himself creditably in some hotter races than today’s this season and he’s taken to return to winning ways. Dark Jedi has done well since joining Tim Easterby and is the obvious danger.
There was plenty to like about the sustained effort by CLASSIC LORD to win at Goodwood. A penalty makes this tougher but the track should play to his strengths and he is taken to follow up. Arthur’s Realm could give him most to do, while Arthur Norse should be more competitive. Branston Dancer and Norman Kindu are newcomers to note.
An open-looking handicap where Hart Stopper and Alminoor are both of interest, while course specialist Mr Orange again makes the shortlist. However, the unexposed CLOUDEA returned with a run that suggested that this test might suit. A sound surface may also help, and she is taken to find sufficient improvement to score.
Some inconsistent profiles but MUSHARRIF has enjoyed a pretty solid campaign and he’s a dual course winner. He’s the pick ahead of the improving 3yo Lezardrieux, who won here last Thursday. Princess Power and Young Tiger can also run well.
The Racing Post’s best bets at Pontefract on Thursday
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