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Pontefract is the destination for Monday's two selections. Hopefully Danny Tudhope can have a double, as he rides both of the selections.
In a race full of exposed horses, I'm willing to give a chance to turf debutante VANITAS, who could still prove to be a bit better than her current rating of 71.
Vanitas is one of three 3yo's in this race, and I think she's got the best chance of them, despite not raced on turf before. Over 6f at this time of year, the 3yo's get a 7lb weight for age pull with the older horses, which is no where near as good as the longer trips, but it's still a big help. This race seems to be lacking pace, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Danny Tudhope make use of Vanitas' good draw from stall 3 and attempt to make all. I watched a race at Pontefract last week where Danny took the initiative on a horse who wasn't known to be a front runner, and it paid dividends as he set the fractions perfectly and wasn't for catching. I'm hoping for a similar scenario on our selection in the opening race of the card.
There's no reason why Vanitas shouldn't handle the turf, as both of his parents were good horses on grass, and the Sire's progeny seem to be good on turf and the All Weather. Pontefract is expected to get a little rain before the start of racing, which will probably make the ground either good-to-soft, or good with good-to-soft in places, and though it's difficult to say whether she'll handle those conditions, you'd expect her to with the pedigree she has.
She has been running some okay races on the All Weather, and last time was a return to form after a below par run on her seasonal reappearance, where she probably needed the run. She stays the 7f quite well, so the stiff uphill finish shouldn't cause any issues.
Advised: Each Way (I do think this horse will drift in the market, so will be backing it EW)
HARSWELL DUKE might be a horse a few of you might remember, as he was a horse who finished runner-up to one of the winning selections from last week in Bravado.
This race appears to be easier for Harswell Duke, than the second place to Bravado, as he's against exposed older horses, and he gets the weight for age allowance. The weight allowance for this trip is 10lbs, which is quite a good pull, which means he's the highest rated horse in the race, but is the 3rd lightest.
His run last time out at Ayr was actually quite good, even though Bravado beat him convincingly in the end, Harswell Duke was staying on strongly towards the end, and 7f was never going to be his trip, like I stated in the write-up on that day. He won easily the time before that at Musselburgh, which was over 9f, so the step back up to 8f on a stiff track should help his chances. Danny Tudhope tried to make all in the small field race at Ayr last time, and it wouldn't surprise me if he attempts to do the same again in this race, as I think if he wants the lead, they'll give it him. This is only his 5th start, so there is definitely potential for more improvement.
There is a couple of dangers in this race, with Delgrey Boy, who appears to be on a dangerous mark after his recent good run at York. Frankelio is also another horse in this race who will probably be fancied in the market after the horse he finished runner up last time has since won at Royal Ascot.