Our race preview for tomorrow’s competitive Class 3 sprint handicap at Pontefract identifies a well-drawn former C&D winner with a big chance. Read our betting tips for the lowdown.
IN SUMMARY: This looks very competitive and several runners deserve consideration. Zebedaios is sure to be popular as he bids to maintain his unbeaten record and Final Venture is another in-form contender bidding to extend a winning streak. However, they both have wide draws to overcome and the value lies with OCEAN SHERIDAN, who is well suited by this C&D, ran a big race from a poor draw at Chester last time, will be suited by the forecast overnight rain and has a handy draw in stall 2. Handsome Dude also has an advantageous draw and goes on the shortlist, along with Personal Touch and Compton Park, who both ran well in the same contest at Doncaster recently.
1 Fendale – Drew a blank during fairly light campain in 2015 but his third at York (6f, good) in September was a good effort; 3lb lower now and the soft ground probably didn’t suit when he made a low-key return to action last month; well drawn here and not ruled out.
2 Handsome Dude – Went close at Thirsk (6f, good to firm) in May and comes here after very respectable fifth at Doncaster (6f, soft) last month; has shaped a few times as though this stiff track might suit and has the plum draw on the inside rail; one to consider.
3 Ballymore Castle – Yet to add to his 2yo maiden win in May 2014 and been well below best form on all four outings this season; continues to slide down the weights but needs to turn things around and has wide draw to overcome here.
4 Final Venture – In excellent form this spring and completed a hat-trick four weeks ago, making all at Hamilton (6f, good to firm); another 5lb higher today and will find it tougher to dominate this stronger field from stall 9 but it’s impossible to rule out further improvement.
5 Majdool – Won twice over 7f on the AW as a 2yo but has finished only eighth on his two starts over that trip on turf this season; in good hands and might fare better over a stiff 6f here but has awkward draw and needs to up his game.
6 Ocean Sheridan – Has gained all four wins over a stiff 6f (one here) and is now 1lb lower than when second in a Class 2 event over C&D (soft) in April; returns here after creditable second from wide draw at Chester (7f, good to soft) last month, has much more favourable draw in stall 2 today and the overnight rain will aid his cause; good chance.
7 Johnny Cavagin – Has gained two of his eight wins over C&D, the more recent in September, and gave a very good account when second at Doncaster (7f, good) ten days ago; holds no secrets from the handicapper but has fairly good draw today and probably won’t be far away.
8 Zebedaios – Dead-heated in C&D maiden on debut in April and finished strongly to gain outright win in Haydock handicap the following month; 6lb higher now and stall 10 not ideal today, but could easily have more to offer now back on this stiff track.
9 My Amigo – Lightly raced 3yo who has been placed in all five handicaps since his winning 2yo debut, including when scoring at Wetherby (5.5f, good) on penultimate outing in May; might still be improving and can make his presence felt again.
10 Personal Touch – Not an instant success for new trainer Michael Appleby this season but came from off the pace to claim third in big field at Doncaster (6f, good) ten days ago; will need some luck from stall 14 today but remains well handicapped on best of last year’s form.
11 Compton Park – Without a win since August 2014 but hasn’t had a huge amount of racing since than and bounced back to form with a big run when second (just ahead of Personal Touch) at Doncaster (6f, good) recently; 3lb higher now but dangerous to ignore.
12 Monarch Maid – Improved upon low-key seasonal debut when making all in Class 5 contest at Salisbury (6f, good to firm) last month; quite well drawn to attack from the front here but 4lb rise enough to leave this exposed 5yo vulnerable in today’s much stronger race.
13 Sunraider – Won by 5l over C&D in September 2014 but hasn’t tasted victory since then; usually seen to best effect when making late headway in a strongly run event and there’s a good chance today’s race will be run to suit, but the winning line always seems to come too soon and he’s become very frustrating.
14 Chaplin Bay – Drew nicely clear to gain breakthrough win at Hamilton (6f, good to firm) in May and has held his form well since then, most recently when close second at Haydock (7f, soft) off today’s mark on Thursday; up in class today, though, and others appeal more in a warm race.
myracing Forecast Prices: 7/2 Zebedaios, 6/1 Final Venture, 8/1 My Amigo, Chaplin Bay, 10/1 Compton Park, 12/1 Handsome Dude, Ocean Sheridan, Johnny Cavagin, Personal Touch, 14/1 Majdool, Monarch Maid, 16/1 Fendale, Ballymore Castle, 25/1 Sunraider