An unlucky Placepot exit at Newcastle yesterday leaves Timeform's Matt Gardner determined to make amends at Pontefract this afternoon...
"I fancy Sir Reginald to go very close here, as he gets his 2013 season underway racing from what strikes as being a particularly handy mark..."
14:10 - There are a number of interesting newcomers in the opening leg, none more so than Heskin who hails from the Richard Fahey yard. A sister to the useful sprinter Cake, who scored herself on debut, and a half-sister to another useful sprinter in the shape of Tagula Night, Heskin ought to possess plenty of speed and she seems sure to go close for her in-form trainer. It's also worth including one with experience, namely Shelley's Choice, who finished ahead of a pair of next-time-out winners at Wolverhampton on her debut earlier this month and she ought to improve with that experience under her belt.
14:40 - Noble Bull probably needs to improve to defy a mark of 75 and Dorfman comes with risks attached having unseated his rider at Kempton last time; it's also concerning that Mark Johnston has reached for the headgear on the back of that. Hopefully the field doesn't reduce to four, as that would leave us needing the winner, but we are pretty confident in siding with both Massadr, who's Lingfield form has been boosted, and Gabrial The Thug, who ought to be suited by this step up in trip and remains open to improvement.
15:10 - I fancy Sir Reginald to go very close here, as he gets his 2013 season underway racing from what strikes as being a particularly handy mark. The five-year-old shaped well on occasion last term but, because he mixed good efforts with some below-par ones, he is far from a banker so we will also stick in Head Space, who demonstrated that he had returned in good form when going close at Beverley last week and should appreciate this stiff finish.
15:40 - Stickleback remains a maiden after eight starts on the Flat and three over jumps but she is unexposed as a stayer and put up her best effort yet when finishing third at this venue, over two miles and two furlongs, a fortnight ago. Today's even longer trip promises to suit and her trainer Micky Hammond has won three of the last four renewals of this race, so she should go close. Jeu De Roseau appeals as an ideal back-up selection having dropped to his last winning mark, particularly with the nine-year-old having gone well fresh in the past, and he is another that ought to enjoy this stamina test.
16:10 - Neither Burren View Lady or Trixie Malone showed enough on their respective debuts to merit consideration here but the remaining four are interesting. Debutant Sarkinsky makes plenty of appeal on paper but we'd rather have experience on our side, so Anderton is the one we shall take. Banking in a race like this isn't ideal but we need to save lines somewhere and, if a gelding operation has worked the oracle, Anderton could take a bit of beating here.
16:40 - Dolphin Rock and Frontier Fighter could take each other on at the head of affairs here, potentially compromising their chances, so will swerve that pair and instead take Rossetti and Hayek. The former shaped well at Wolverhampton earlier this month, conceding first run to the eventual winner and simply being unable to reel him in, and seems sure to go well if building upon that whilst Hayek, who is now just 1 lb above his last winning mark, ought to be sharper for his reappearance, behind Dolphin Rock, last time and has the added bonus of his riders' 7 lb allowance.
14:10 - 4, 15
14:40 - 4, 5
15:10 - 9, 10
15:40 - 6, 12
16:10 - 1
16:40 - 6, 7
= 32 lines