2.30pm Pontefract Tips & Betting Preview 30/07/2017

A mile and a half Class 5 handicap on good to soft ground, this should be a decent test on a stiff track. Read on for our runner by runner preview and expert tip.

IN SUMMARY: LIQUID GOLD should be well suited by this step up in trip on her handicap debut. She smacks of one who has chunks of improvement now that she is running at her right trip, with the ground likely to suit. Avenue Des Champs looks best of the older horses, while Regal Mirage is deserving of plenty of respect on the hunt for a fourth win in a row.

1 MYSTERIAL – Twice a winner at this track over ten furlongs, including earlier this month. He has been turned over a couple of times since, including in a claimer last time. He has won at this trip so no concerns there or on this soft surface, but it is difficult to know what to expect given his inconsistency.

2 AVENUE DES CHAMPS – Made light of a near fourteen month absence when scoring over further at Yarmouth. The step down in trip shouldn’t be any concern on this stiff track while he ran well the only time he has tried good to soft ground so far. His wins have come in pairs so far, a two pound lift for his most recent gives him a chance of backing it up with another win here.

3 THORNTOUN CARE – Another last time out winner, a three pound lift in the weights should be well within his grasp given the marks he was competitive off in his youth. His last two wins have both been in Class 6 contests, so this slight rise in class is a question mark, failing to finish better than fifth above Class 6 level since October 2014.

4 STECCANDO – Ten race maiden has shown his best form with plenty of cut in the ground. Good to soft here will be fine, placed at this trip on similar ground at Thirsk last time out. That was a lesser race than this, but a stiffer track could allow him to make the frame once more from a career low mark.

5 NEW SOCIETY – Runner up over this course and distance last time out, albeit following the winner home at a respectable distance. His sole win came over an extra quarter of a mile and while he is open to improvement, unless they go off very hard, this is likely to be an insufficient test of his stamina again.

6 LIQUID GOLD – Three runner up efforts, see her step into handicap company for the first time. They were all around a mile, the best coming on good to soft ground. She stayed on well to the line on each, no surprise given that she is by Nathaniel. Her opening mark looks fair on what is in the book so far, with improvement surely coming now stepped up in trip. The Richard Fahey yard bounced right back to form on Saturday so she very much looks the one to side with.

7 JAN DE HEEM – Consistent but exposed handicapper, he is remarkably versatile with regards to trip and ground. He has won off as high as 65 in the past, his most recent triumph coming from 57, so off 58 here, he is well enough treated to have a say. He was a costly failure last time, turned over at 1.01 in running, hitting the front too soon. Each way chance if he can be delivered to perfection as late as possible.

8 DIAMOND RUNNER –  Won a myracing sponsored race at Nottingham in June over a mile and a quarter. That has looked his best trip so far in his career, trying this far for the first time at Beverley last time out. He was sent off favourite there, just failing to get home up the hill. This is a stiffer test at the trip which has to be a significant concern.

9 REGAL MIRAGE – Rattled off a recent hat-trick within a month, improving each time he has stepped up in trip. He spread-eagled the field late at Hamilton when last seen over a furlong shorter, looking as if this longer trip would be no problem. He is yet to encounter ground quite this soft, but a half sibling acts well with cut and given he is open to further improvement, he looks the biggest threat to the selection.

10 CORNERSTONE LAD – Shown improved form since going handicapping, placed over this course and distance as well as on good to soft ground at Ripon. Was a head behind New Society off these terms last time, sent off favourite for that contest. Might need a little further to be at his very best in time but certainly deserves consideration.

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