7.40pm Pontefract Tips & Betting Preview 12/06/2017

With close to £10,000 on offer to the winner, this three-year-olds handicap has attracted a reasonable field for a Monday evening with twelve pounds separating them according to the official handicapper. Our detailed horse by horse race preview for the Mr Wolf Sprint Handicap continues below.

IN SUMMARY: GOLDEN APOLLO is almost certainly the best handicapped horse in this contest, and if he can handle the early pace dropped back to six furlongs he looks by far the most likely winner. The Good ground looks ideal and Tim Easterby will be expecting a huge run, with Black Isle Boy the most likely to chase him home tonight.

1 BLACK ISLE BOY – One uninspiring start at two (finished lame) gave no clues to his true abilities that have seen a three from three win record so far this season at Ayr, Hamilton, and over this course and distance in a maiden in April. Last time out he held on all out by a short head over this trio but showed plenty of resolution near the line, and whoever gets past him will know they have been in a battle. Jockey Danny Tudhope is on fire of late with thirteen winners from his last fifty-one rides for a 25% strike rate and a level stakes profit of 35.27 points and the son of Elzaam won’t be far away again now even after a hefty five pound rise in the weights.

2 EL HOMBRE – Looking for his hat-trick here the son of Camacho was put up seven pounds for a six-length win at Hamilton over this trip but shrugged that off at Haydock with a length win after being produced by Rowan Scott close home. An added five pounds will obviously slow him down now as will the step up in class but after his last win his jockey said “El Hombre has a great attitude and lots of natural speed. He won over a stiff six last time and should probably get seven but this trip seems to suit him”, and he may yet be improving fast enough to go close again granted a clear run.

3 PARNASSIAN – His two wins from seven races were gained in his first two starts with a four and a half length win in a Newcastle maiden followed by a two and a half length win in a Carlisle Novice Auction Stakes. Since then he has placed in the first three home in three of his five starts but with a below par effort on his only race this season at York when thirty-seven lengths thirteenth of fourteen at when tried over seven furlongs. Sent off a 20/1 chance that day he weakened far too early in the race to ascertain if it was the trip or not and arrives her4e with plenty to prove this season, though at least the Karl Burke stable are ticking over nicely with six winners from their last fifty runners for a 12% success rate.

4 HOLMESWOOD – The Michael Dods trained son of Mayson is one of the lighter raced runners here and thus may well have more room for improvement than some of his rivals. A win, a second, a third, and a fourth from the four starts have seen him fill every place possible already, though he may yet have attitude problems after a nine and a quarter length fourth in first-time cheekpieces at Newmarket last month. In his defence that was a class two event and this is much more likely to be nearer to his level, but tonight he wears blinkers for the first time and the changing headgear does suggest he needs help to focus. Left on the same rating of 85 he needs to do a lot more now and may even need a little more juice in the ground to be seen at his very best.

5 TAWNY PORT – Four wins from ten starts has been a superb return for owners Tawny Port Racing and Lovely Bubbly Racing but he is the outsider of this field at present after to poor efforts in a row now. Put up to a rating of 85 after winning at Ayr in a Class Two Nursery he finished a sixteen length seventeenth of twenty at Redcar in the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy Stakes on his last race as a juvenile and a nineteen length eleventh of fourteen at York over seven furlongs on his return this season, with Parnassian in behind. He was never really sighted in contention that day so it is impossible to blame the added furlong, and on his better form over this sort of trip he is nowhere near as far out of this as his lengthy odds imply or the in-form James Given stable who are sitting pretty with a 31% strike rate.

6 ESPRIT DE CORPS – With his one win form four starts on the rock-hard Bath track, the Roger Charlton trained son of Sepoy may well have found the much softer ground at Newmarket last time out all against him and explain why he finished a sixteen and a half length last of ten over this trip. He didn’t get the rub of the green either that day with his run blocked at a crucial stage in a race that may be best ignored and if the going dries out he can run a big race here. Dropping in class after trying his luck in that Class Two event, though sadly the Roger Charlton yard are a little out of sorts with just the one win from their last twenty-one attempts in the past two weeks.

7 GOLDEN APOLLO – Many see Tim Easterby’s gelded son of Pivotal as the best handicapped in this contest and a glance at his form suggests that may well be the case. Despite being by Pivotal his only win so far was over this trip on faster going in a decent looking nursery at Doncaster last November with both runs this season over a seventh furlong. A four and a quarter length fourth at York was followed by a length third at Wetherby where he failed to see out the trip, but if they go fast enough tonight this race could well be his for the taking.

8 THE NAZCA LINES – Bottom weight for John Quinn’s gelding will help his cause and although he only managed one win from eleven starts as a two-year-old, he did run well enough on his return this season at Catterick when a running on third over five furlongs. That was his first run in over seven month so he is entitled to strip that little bit more race fit now, and although he does look as if he will improve for the step up in trip, he does look fully exposed and it will be a surprise if he can beat some of these even in receipt of weight all round.

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