Pontefract Tips: Angel could soar in West Yorkshire

 | 1st May | 

3 mins read

pontefract scaled

There are six British and Irish meetings taking place on Wednesday, with plenty of good-quality Flat action in Britain to support the second day of Punchestown's season-closing festival.

One of the biggest meetings in Britain will be at Pontefract, where there is a seven-race card scheduled to take place between 14:05 and 17:35 with the going described as 'soft'. In my Pontefract tips, I've picked out a trio to follow in West Yorkshire, including a three-year-old sprinter who could be on the way to better things.

Pontefract Tips - Wednesday, May 1

  • 14:05 – Exalted Angel @ 11/4
  • 15:50 – On The River @ 5/2
  • 16:25 – Marie Ellen @ 17/2

14:05 – Exalted Angel @ 11/4

This race is so far below the level at which EXALTED ANGEL usually competes. On his most recent run, he was third in a 0-95 from a mark of 89 and here he runs off 78 against a group of horses rated in the 70s.

The catch is that Exalted Angel's previous form is on all-weather and this is his return to turf. Since he was last seen on grass in late-2022, his marks have been split which should go a long way to alleviating what had become an obvious discrepancy.

It is not as though returning to turf is a half-baked plan, either. He was declared to run at Wetherby on Sunday. He did not face the starter, owing to 'unsuitable' soft ground, but conditions have been dry since so it is hoped that Exalted Angel will take his chance.

If he does, this stiff 5f ought to be ideal for him. That was certainly how he shaped when third over 6f at Kempton last time. If he can show anything like his all-weather level back on turf, he is a cut above his opposition here.

15:50 – On The River @ 5/2

Conditions are absolutely no concern for ON THE RIVER in this 1m handicap. He has run most of his best races on softer ground and at stiff tracks around this distance.

In fact, he ran the best race of his life when winning over course and distance just nine days ago. He carries a 5lb penalty for that win, but would be another 1lb higher if his new mark were to be factored in.

Then there is the potential that On The River may have to keep improving. He is five now, but he won four times last season, improving 16lb on the BHA's scale. His latest win shows that he need not be done improving yet, and there is plenty in this horse's favour to allow him to go on again.

16:25 – Marie Ellen @ 17/2

There is naturally a lot of guesswork involved when trying to pin down the ideal conditions for these three-year-olds, most of whom have run five times or less.

Things were brightest for MARIE ELLEN when she raced on softer turf ground last season, so there is a reasonable chance she can bounce back now faced with those conditions again.

It could also be important that Marie Ellen now drops back to sprint trips, too. She is bred to be a sprinter, ultimately, with lots of prolific speedsters in her pedigree. She ran a fine debut over 6f at Leicester on soft ground last August and this poses a similar sort of test, with soft ground and a stiff finish.

Recent struggles for Marie Ellen have been on the all-weather and faster ground at Windsor. There were some signs of life there, as she met trouble when attempting to mount a challenge over 1f out. Her momentum went with that and she was allowed to come home in her own time. If she is going to build on it, these look just the right conditions.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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