Our resident racing tipster, The Form Analyst, has dived head-first into Wednesday’s Pontefract card in a bid to tackle the £10,000 Place 6 pool. He reckons that Charlie’s boy could love a return to soft ground and is definitely one to consider.
A tricky seven runner amateur riders race to kick-off the Place 6. I struggled to form a strong view on any of these and I ended with a shortlist of three.
Gylo is one I’ve watched a few times as he has run a couple of eye-catching races but as he has dropped down the handicap he hasn’t really got any closer to winning. I’m sure he has enough ability to win off a mark of 62 and a repeat of last time when 5th of 14 in a more competitive race would put him in the mix here.
Brutalab was running very consistently before last time out when well beaten but you can put a line through that run. He went off too fast that day, the jockey got the fractions wrong and it was no surprise that he faded badly. Prior to this, he had been running well and, although he’s up 3lbs from his last few starts, should be competitive.
The top weight Into The Zone has a class advantage on most of these and he also has the best jockey with Simon Walker. Going through the maiden runs, I couldn’t form a view on whether it was a good opening mark or not but, in a race so full of exposed horses with question marks about the Easterby runner which was my other alternative, I felt he deserved to be on the shortlist.
Place 6 Selections – Gylo, Brutalab, Into The Zone
A straighforward race as you can only realistically give four a chance with three places up for grabs and it will be a surprise if a newcomer is good enough to challenge them.
First selection is Three Fans who probably boasts the best form and, importantly, is proven to handle softer ground and which makes him the clear pick in this race. It’s very hard to split the other three but Custodian ran a nice race on debut and, given how much most of the Fahey runners improve from their debut run, he seems like an obvious alternative to Three Fans.
Place 6 Selections – Three Fans, Custodian
There is a potential handicap blot lurking in this race at a big price although, admittedly, you need to forgive both of his runs this season on ground that was potentially too fast for him. Back on softer ground though, I think there is a chance we see Charlie’s Boy bounce back to form.
If you study his second and third runs as a two-year old, you will see that he mixed it with some very progressive and subsequently well-handicapped horses. Importantly, these runs were over soft ground and, although he has been well beaten at big prices in two firm ground races this year, he could be on a good mark on this ground.
Agar’s Plough disappointed last time but I’m not sure he stayed the trip and, back down to 8f, he is well handicapped enough to play a part, although his stable form remains a bit of a concern at the moment.
My other one is probably going to be a decent price too but Intense Style is very well-handicapped and I’m happy to ignore last time as he didn’t like the firm ground. There is a clear question mark about his wellbeing after two poor runs but down another 3lbs, down in class and back on softer ground, it all points to him bouncing back.
Place 6 Selections – Charlie’s Boy, Agar’s Plough, Intense Style
There are a couple of horses in this one that I know very well and I’m drawn to both of them again. Sir Victor is one I built a very strong case for last time when he was very well backed but fell out of the stalls, giving up any chance he had that day. The handicapper amazingly dropped him 1lb and I need to give him another chance today. Form from his previous run has worked out very well.
The other one I’ve backed in his last two is Quoteline Direct who has been running OK but just missing a bit of spark. I do think he is better over 10f than 8f but, given the way he has been running, I would hope they ride him more prominently here and make use of his stamina. This might also wake him up to run a race again and I’d give him another chance here.
My final selection is the very consistent Newmarket Warrior, who is best known these days as an AW specialist at Newcastle. When he runs on turf, he handles soft ground and he ran well at Haydock two starts ago when a little unlucky. Should run well here and is a likely horse to place.
Place 6 Selections – Sir Victor, Quoteline Direct, Newmarket Warrior
Another tricky seven runner handicap, although three stand out for me and will be disappointed if one of them doesn’t place.
An obvious starting point is Volcanic Sky who was very impressive last time and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t go well again from a 4lbs higher mark as he won easily last time and could have been given a harsher rating increase I think.
My Reward is very well handicapped these days and returned to form last time. She is up 1lb today but looks a really solid selection, although it should be noted that both Volcanic Sky and My Reward go forward and will try to lead. Hopefully they don’t go too fast and ruin each other’s chances.
The other selection is an old favourite of mines but Mutamaded can definitely win off this mark but my confidence is somewhat lower after a really poor run last time out. If he was coming here having not had that run, I would be all over him as a bet but my fingers are still a bit burnt from the last run!
Place 6 Selections – Volcanic Sky, My Reward, Mutamaded
Suwaan is very well handicapped at the moment and will surely pop up sooner or later. I backed him a few starts ago at a decent price but he isn’t really one to go mad with at shorter odds as always finds a way to get beat! Assuming he runs his usual race, he should have a very good chance of placing.
Move In Time and Billy Dylan both have similar profiles and they complete the shortlist. Both have dropped about a stone in the handicap since the end of last season and, after some below par runs this season, both bounced back to form last time out.
Both horses are clearly not the force of old but, given how well handicapped they are and in this class of race, it will be a major surprise if one of these two don’t go close to winning this race today I think.
Place 6 Selections – Suwaan, Move In Time, Billy Dylan