Sunday racing in the UK is often of a very disappointing standard, which has always confused me; fortunately Pontefract hosts a very competitive Listed fillies’ 6f contest at 3.45pm, a welcome relief from Class 6 handicaps!
Ladies Are Forever (5/1) brings the best form into the race, having already won Listed and Group 3 races this term. Danny Tudhope’s mount seems equally effective over both 5 and 6f and her more disappointing recent efforts have been in Group 2 company. At this level, you’d expect Geoffrey Oldroyd’s 6 year old to be right in the mix; though she does carry a 7lb penalty for her troubles.
Current favourite, Hoodna, could only manage 12th of 24 in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last time out, but had some solid placed efforts in handicaps before that. At odds of 3/1, the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained filly doesn’t particularly catch the eye; considering she’s never won a race on turf.
VALONIA has been well backed this morning, however 9/2 still represents decent value for the filly that comes out best at the weights, according to the official ratings. Her most recent 4th in the Oak Tree Stakes was a cracking effort, beaten just a length and a half. Her handler, Henry Candy, is in rude health at the moment and the drop back to 6f will be no problem, especially with the stiff finish here.
It’d be naïve to underestimate the chances of Spinatrix who, despite not winning since last August, has arguably been in the form of her career. Michael Dods’ sprinter only ran yesterday, and though she ran a super race to finish 2nd, that has to be a concern.
Athenian (12/1) has a very impressive strike rate of 37.5%, having won 6 of her 16 races, and it’s never easy to ignore a Sir Mark Prescott runner. However, she has a bit to find with the principles and her most recent 9th at Newmarket in lesser company is difficult to get excited about. Most of the others will have to bounce back from poor efforts to get competitive, so here’s hoping Valonia and Harry Bentley with be surging up the hill to take the prize.