Pontefract and Windsor previews: Rio ready to rock
David Metcalf | April 18, 2016
Rio weighted to strike at Pontefract
My Name Is Rio shaped well last time out and can take advantage of a drop in the weights to get back to winning ways in the 6f handicap on today’s card at Pontefract (15.10).
The Michael Dods trained gelding is a course and distance winner who was last successful at Ayr 10 months ago when staying on strongly to land a 14-runner contest by a head off a mark of 89.
My Name Is Rio was then far from disgraced when finishing in midfield in his next two off 90, and is now able to race off 87.
That is 2lb lower than when last successful and gives the six-year-old major claims from a handicapping perspective.
My Name Is Rio also comes into the contest on the back of a solid 2 1/2 length fourth of 16 to Roudee at Doncaster off 1lb higher, where he showed plenty of pace to chase the leaders before sticking to the task well.
That should have blown away the cobwebs and put the son of Captain Rio spot on for this, and another plus is that he has winning form in testing conditions.
Terhaal looks tasty
Trainer David O’Meara has made a good start to the season and the lightly-raced Terhaal looks to hold leading claims of providing him with another winner in the 1m handicap (14.40).
The gelding looked a smart prospect when winning his sole start as a juvenile for William Haggas, but then suffered an injury and was on the sidelines for 345 days before joining O’Meara.
After shaping as if badly in need of the outing when well beaten on his first start for his new handler at Musselbrugh, Terhaal put in a much improved effort to finish a staying on third over 7f in soft ground at Catterick.
The four-year-old backed that up with a solid third of 12 under similar conditions at Newmarket, keeping on to be beaten just over five lengths after racing too keenly in the early stages.
Judge on those efforts a handicap mark of 78 looks very exploitable, especially as Terhaal remains unexposed and open to stacks more improvement.
14.10: Trois Bon Amis
14.40: Terhaal (NB)
15.10: My Name Is Rio (NAP)
16.45: Johnny B Goode
17.15: Dark Ocean
Navigate can get back on track at Windsor
Navigate will relish the testing conditions at Windsor and can defy top weight to land the 6f handicap on this evening’s seven-race card at the Berkshire venue (18.20).
The Martyn Meade trained gelding go off the mark when scoring over course and distance back in October 2014, and showed progressive form in handicaps at the start of last season.
After finishing fifth in a hot contest at Newmarket, the four-year-old scored in good style on soft ground at Chester when beating the useful Northgate Lad by a length in a competitive 12-runner affair.
Navigate got put up 7lb for that victory, but posted a solid effort of his revised rating of 91 when third at Haydock.
Although then not at his best in two subsequent starts, there was plenty to like about Navigate’s return to action when sixth in a big field at Doncaster earlier in the month.
Navigate has since been dropped 2lb, and is now able to race in this less competitive contest off a mark of 87.
That is just 3lb higher than when last successful and gives the son of Iffraaj major claims at the weights on the pick of his form.
Poternello and SDS a potent combination
In the 6f handicap that closes proceedings (19.50), Potternello looks to have plenty going for him.
The Mick Channon trained four-year-old was last successful on heavy ground at Epsom when staying on strongly to draw clear and land a 6f contest by 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 64.
Potternello is now able to race off just 1lb higher having shaped better than the bare result suggests in three starts on the all-weather following a 128-day break.
The last two of those runs have been over 7f, and the drop back to 6f is a big plus.
Connections are also refitting Potternello with the visor, and both his career successes have come when sporting the headgear.
The son of Captain Marvellous also has the assistance in the saddle of Silvestre De Sousa who steered him to his last success, and hails from a yard going really well at present.
16.50: Zig Zag Girl
17.20: Stake Acclaim
18.20: Navigate (NAP)
19.50: Potternello (NB)