3.10pm Pontefract Tips & Betting Preview 05/07/2016

Here’s our betting tips and race preview for the the feature on Pontefract’s Tuesday card, a 1m Listed event for fillies and mares.

IN SUMMARY: Spirit Raiser won a good-quality handicap two starts ago and has a handy draw on the inside here but, by some way, the most appealing option is BLACK CHERRY, and it’s surprising that some bookmakers initially made her only their second favourite. Richard Hannon’s filly was allowed to dictate a fairly steady pace when placed in a 1m2f Listed event at Goodwood two starts ago and might be slightly flattered by the bare form, but that race was open to colts and much stronger than this one. Her subsequent seventh in a Royal Ascot Group 2 was perfectly respectable and, with today’s stiff 1m expected to suit, she has the class to see this field off. Clotide seems to be heading in the right direction and was recently placed at this level at Windsor.

1 Alfajer – Displayed improvement when third in Listed company at Ascot (7f, good) in October and has also run well on all four subsequent AW starts, most recently when third on AW Championship day at Lingfield (7f; first-time blinkers) in March; claims on that evidence but 1m on this stiff track might stretch her stamina.

2 Black Cherry – Placed twice in Listed company at Goodwood this spring (1m/1m2f) and also gave very good account when midfield in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot (1m, soft) last month; will be suited by the stiff track here and is the one to beat.

3 Brandybend – Not disgraced when sent to the US for a 1m7f Listed event last month and has twice been placed over 1m2f at this level since the autumn; not far off the principals on the figures but it remains to be seen how well she copes with today’s drop in trip.

4 Clotide – Completed hat-trick of handicap wins at around 1m this spring and coped well with rise to Listed company when third at Windsor (8.3f, soft) recently, despite suffering interference inside the final furlong; might still be improving and will be fine on today’s less-testing ground; in the mix.

5 Esteemable – Four wins this year, the latest in Class 4 handicap over C&D (good to firm) last month; will need to better that performance by some way to pose a significant threat in this company but is evidently in rude health and it’s easy to understand why connections are keen to let her take her chance.

6 Gratzie – Landed a valuable handicap at Epsom (8.5f, good) 13 months ago and comes here after ready success in Class 3 contest at Bath (1m, firm) last month; unlikely to be disgraced at this level but looks exposed after 25 starts and others are stronger.

7 Lady Marl – Won four handicaps during productive 2015 campaign and posted new career-best performance when close second at Chelmsford (1m2f, AW) in March; however, that form is some way below the required standard here and she’s been off since a lesser effort later that month.

8 Lil Sophella – Stayed on well to win 7f York handicap in May and also ran well off her career-high mark on both outings last month (1m/7.5f), but it’s difficult to imagine this 7yo displaying the necessary jolt of improvement to land this prize.

9 Loaves And Fishes – Made all in Beverley handicap (1m2f, good to firm) in May, her third start for David O’Meara, and ran better than bare form of 13l defeat suggests after blasting off in front in Group 3 event at Epsom (8.5f, good) on Derby day; needs to post a new career-best performance to fend off this field, though.

10 Lucy The Painter – First past the post in four handicaps this year (subsequently disqualified on first occasion) and comes here after finishing second at Newmarket (1m, heavy) recently; needs to find something extra if she’s to make her mark at this level, though.

11 Merry Me – Runner-up in this race last year and has held her own in Listed/Group company on all three starts this season, most recently when fifth at Windsor (8.3f, soft) ten days ago; can give a good account but her progress seems to have plateaued and she might find at least a couple of these too strong.

12 Mothers Finest – Unplaced on her first six starts in Listed company but has another crack at this level after two good handicap runs last month, more recently when winning Class 2 event on AW debut at Newcastle; in the mix here if able to transfer that level of performance back to turf.

13 Spirit River – Well down the field in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last month but may not have been suited by the soft ground there; previously made very pleasing seasonal debut when winning Class 2 handicap at Nottingham (8.3f, good to firm) and that piece of form makes her a big player.

myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 Black Cherry, 5/1 Spirit Raiser, 6/1 Clotide, 7/1 Mothers Finest, 10/1 Alfajer, Merry Me, 12/1 Gratzie, Loaves And Fishes, 14/1 Brandybend, Esteemable, 16/1 Lucy The Painter, 33/1 Lady Marl, Lil Sophella

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