The ground was described as good at Pontefract at Monday morning ahead of today’s card but there is the distinct possibility of rain – some heavy – during racing and it would be no surprise if conditions were on the soft side of good by the completion of today’s nine-race card.
Sudona (12.45) could never land a blow when no match for Solo Saxophone over 12f at Thirsk last time, but that form has been boosted by the winner who followed up at Haydock under a 5lbs penalty. The selection – 10/3 at bet365 – drops back in trip this afternoon to the distance of his sole previous win, and I hope to see Danny Tudhope close to the pace dropping back in trip from his good draw.
Aiya made all to score over C&D from this mark back in September and would be a threat to all if getting his own way on the lead.
The feature race is the listed Pipalong Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile. Scentasia (3.20) was a bitter disappointment at Kempton behind stablemate and subsequent Royal Ascot winner Nazeef last month when she was not given the best of rides. That was her first start in 200-days, however, and I will give her another chance in the hope that Rab Havlin gets her to settle. Her best form is on polytrack, but she is a duel winner on turf and, if the ground remains no worse than good, she can return to winning ways for John Gosden.The selection is 9/4 with William Hill.
There is a listed race at Roscommon and Pondus (3.30) looked an unlucky loser having his first start for Joseph O’Brien at Limerick last month and he can go one better in the feature. Simsir who was made market leader for that Limerick contest and the progressive Heliac are big dangers, but the O’Brien gelding – 9/4 at William Hill – would not be inconvenienced if the forecast showers got into the ground. Wayne Lordan keep the ride.
At Leicester this evening Red October (6.45) has his first start since April 2019 for Hugo Palmer but that run behind Sameem and Forest Of Dean reads very well given their subsequent exploits and the selection can race off the same mark tonight. The four-year-old – 11/4 at Unibet – has been gelded in the interim period and is fitted with cheek-pieces for his reappearance. The booking of Tom Marquand is a positive.
The 10f Handicap is a cracker and Rocket Rod (7.15) can make it third time lucky although I was disappointed with his finishing effort when runner up at Windsor last time behind an unexposed Gosden horse – Nova Roma – who runs at Newbury tomorrow. The selection had previously finished in front of Dream With Me at Newcastle on debut when he again travelled well before finding little. It is possible that a mile will be his optimum trip in time, but I am convinced there is more to come from a colt who is bred for 10f and indeed further! The selection is 4s at bet365.
A competitive card at Newton Abbot and, if the ground rides no worse than good, I would expect Zeb Spirit to have more than his fair share of supporters from what looks an attractive looking opening mark in the 2m Handicap Hurdle. He must go close, but Harry Fry looks sure to have schooled Get Back Get Back (4.20) extensively for his reappearance over timber, having had a pipe-opener on the level recently when behind the subsequent Northumberland Plate 1-2 Caravan Of Hope and Australis. That run should have put him spot on for today and, if his jumping holds up, he can swoop fast and late under Sean Bowen. The ew recommendation is 6/1 with Boylesports
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