This is a 6 furlong sprint at Pontefract, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Ismail Mohammed’s ALWAYS THANKFUL has got some good form to her name and she’s the type to do better as a 3yo. She gets the vote here to make a winning start this season and go onto better things in handicap company. England Expects is one to keep a close eye on in the betting whilst Mabs Cross could be an interesting newcomer for Michael Dodds and she also deserves a second market look.
1 ACADIAN ANGEL – Nice effort on debut to finish second of five, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths by a decent enough sort. She will have come on a lot for that run and drops back in trip here on turf debut against a fair level of opposition. The yard are profitable here (£27.13 to level stakes) and she shouldn’t be too far away if she can build on her initial promise. Ground should be ideal.
2 ALWAYS THANKFUL – 220,000GNS 2yo and she’s got some smart form to her name having raced in some competitive maidens towards the end of last year. She was only beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Really Special and that form gives her a serious chance in this. She remains at 6 furlongs and she should really be breaking her maiden here to justify the price tag. Top jockey is booked and she has a big chance today.
3 CHICAGO STAR – 60,000GNS purchase and she’s another with smart form to her name, having finished fourth of 13 at Newmarket over 7 furlongs in October. She was sent off a big price that day (33/1) but she’s clearly a filly with ability and this Exceed And Excel filly should progress again to get competitive here. Stall 4 is fine and she’s one to keep a very close eye on in the betting. Respected.
4 DECIMA – 12,500GNS yearling and she’s an average sort based on her pedigree. She’s been handed stall 9 today which isn’t ideal for an un-raced filly and her jockey will look to get her plenty of cover early on. Yard are not known for sending out racecourse debutante winners and the presence of a 7lb claimer suggests she’s not expected to fire on her first start. One for handicaps.
5 DORIA ROAD – Three career starts and the handicapper has allotted her an opening rating of 63. That leaves her with plenty to find in this company and it’s a surprise to see her kept in a maiden given she’ll have a much better chance in handicaps. Yard have been out of form of late (no winners from their last 8 runners) and others are preferred.
6 ENGLAND EXPECTS – Stood no chance against an exceptional filly last time out although she ran with promise for a long way and there could be plenty more to come today. She was well-backed on her first racecourse experience and she ran like a filly that would progress for a yard that do send out maiden winners. They don’t excel here with only 4 winners from 49 runners but one to watch closely in the betting again.
7 INCENTIVE – Five career starts and she’s been tried over different trips from 5 1/2 furlongs up to 7. Her form tailed off towards the end of last season and she may have just suffered due to the ground. Her best performances came over 6 furlongs but they both came on Good to Firm ground and she’s unlikely to get that here. Others are preferred today.
8 MABS CROSS – Cheap yearling purchase having changed hands for just £3,000 but she’s a half-sister to some useful sorts and wouldn’t be without a chance here. She’s by Dutch Art so this trip should be ideal on debut and the yard can get one ready so she’s worth a second look in the betting. Yard have been slightly out of form of late, without a winner from their last 7 runners.
9 MAJORETTE – Another cheap purchase, she was bought for just 2,200GNS as a yearling and she’s a half-sister to some decent enough sorts. She’s probably going to require some time and the yard aren’t renowned for first time out winners so she’s probably best watched on debut although the booking of Paul Hanagan does catch the eye (21% strike rate at Pontefract).
10 SUGAR BEACH – Sets the standard here off a rating of 72 and she’s a Canford Cliffs filly who has shown some speed in three starts to date. She has progressed in three runs which all came in the summer on similar ground to this and she returns here off a 201-day break. She should do well again this year but the trip is a slight question mark and she may want further in time. Best watched here.
11 SUITED – Yard rarely have a maiden winner although this filly ran a nice race on debut and she’s likely to do much better here with that experience under her belt. She remains over 6 furlongs today and it’s her first run on the turf so it’ll be interesting to see how much progression there is. Yard have sent out a winner in the last fortnight.