Seven races at Pontefract on Thursday afternoon, from 14.10 – 17.40. Decent-sized fields, and competitive racing, as per.
Difficult not to be extra-invested in a tipping piece when it’s ‘Ponte,’ a track I’ve happily visited dozens of times down the years. It’s terrific, in my humble estimation. Quirky. Unique. Makes for great racing and thrilling finishes.
15.55 – Auld Toon Loon @ 6/1
Jason Watson rides, for David O’Meara. A 4-yr-old gelding who is admirably consistent and who was arguably a little unlucky last time at Ayr in a level above this.
Having won off a mark of 80 the handicapper has appeared in charge now off 86, but I saw definite signs during that last run that it’s a mark that could be handled if everything went smoothly in the race.
He’ll have lots of time to get into it around here and he’s run really well at Haydock previously, admittedly a much flatter track, but one again where you really need to get home with purpose and conviction. A value shout in my book.
17.05 – Dashing Panther @ 13/8
For the second tip I’m going for the penultimate race on the card and William Stone’s Dashing Panther, ridden by the evergreen Ayr Gold Cup hero Joe Fanning. He was staying-on at the death in a slightly higher-class contest at Ascot last time and that augurs well for this stiff finish up the Ponte hill to home.
He took a race in this grade off a 7lb lower mark at Newbury in May but has been brought along steadily, running only twice since. Last time was really encouraging and I hope that the hold-up maestro Fanning can smuggle him into the contest and skip away close home. Not a big field, so there shouldn’t be any hard luck stories with horses searching for room, turning for home.