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A blank Sunday in Ireland sees me focus my attentions across the water and there’s a decent card in Pontefract featuring a Listed race. The National Hunt cards in Worcester and Hexham provide more mundane fare and there’s the possibility of heavy rain at all three venues. That makes things tricky, but we’ll have a go.
THE FLYING GINGER should go well in the fillies handicap. She has struggled when stepping into Stakes company, but boasts a solid record in lower grades. She had a win and a second in a couple of valuable nurseries last season and she’s clearly trained on based on her run last time out in a well contested York handicap.
The first and second that day are promising horses, while Sunday’s race probably represents an easier assignment. I don’t normally back hold-up horses in Pontefract, but there are a couple of pace angles in this race and I don’t believe The Flying Ginger will be at a big tactical disadvantage. Any rain that arrives will help her, as her mark remained unchanged after that York race. I suspect that a repeat of that run will be good enough here.
Over to Hexham for a handicap hurdle and hopefully, CYRUS KEEP can back up his course and distance win a couple of weeks ago. This eight-year-old hasn’t has a lot of racing and he travelled strongly in a number of races over the winter.
Perhaps the horse had a physical issue that prevented him from finishing off his races, but he had a wind operation. His first run after that surgery didn’t go well, but he came good last time out and it was encouraging that the horse recovered from a couple of clumsy jumps late in the race to ultimately run out a snug winner.
He has to defy a 7lbs rise in the weights here, but I just have a hunch that this horse is starting to get his act together. Hopefully, he can take another step forward on Sunday.
Back to Pontefract for a Listed race for a fillies listed race and this is a competitive affair. URBAN ARTIST looks sure to run well, as this filly has progressed from handicaps to Stakes company in a relatively short time. Her last couple of starts have resulted in runner-up finishes at Listed and Group 3 level.
A repeat of either run might well be good enough here, as further progression seems more likely than not. She could well be at a tactical advantage too and as mentioned before, this is a track that generally favours front runners. Any easing of the ground would be welcomed and she hails from a stable in fine form. The Ruth Jefferson outfit can celebrate another winner here.
Round four of the Pontefract Stayers Championship is down for decision here. The race isn’t quite as grand as the race title suggests, but it’s a tight knit handicap though. Plenty of inform horses lock horns, and it’s hard to rule out all but a few. I couldn’t get away from the class angle though, and CALL MY BLUFF has won four of his last six starts.
The only defeats were a second to a very well handicapped horse, and a blowout in Southwell. He wouldn’t be the first horse not to take to that unique surface. Call My Bluff’s latest win came at Nottingham and he beat an improving sort that day. Admittedly, that horse has since disappointed ,but a couple of those further behind have given the form a subsequent boost.
Call My Bluff is up a further 6lbs in the weights here, but he is the best horse in this race mind you. He’s also a progressive course and distance winner with an admirably high strike rate. The more rain that falls the better, so there are plenty of positives to justify a wager methinks.
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