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Pontefract preview: Empire can rule now dropped in class

Age Of Empire has some top class form to his name, and can take advantage of a drop in grade to land the 6f conditions’ contest on today’s seven-race card at Pontefract (15.00).

The Richard Hannon trained colt shaped with plenty of promise when seventh on his debut at Newmarket, and showed the benefit of that experience when running out the easy 2 3/4 length winner of a 6f contest at York.

Age Of Empire made all and only had to be nudged out to score with tons in hand, and backed up that run with a cracking sixth of 17 to Buratino in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot two weeks ago.

The son of Royal Applause showed plenty of pace to chase the leaders in the latter, before keeping on to be beaten 7 1/2 lengths without being unduly knocked about once it was clear he would not be winning.

It was an effort which suggested Age Of Empire has little difficulty winning more races, and this represents a big drop in class and an excellent opportunity for him to get back to winning ways.

Racing Knight ran really well when runner-up last time out and can go one better to open his account in the 1m 4f handicap (16.30).

John Quinn

The John Quinn trained gelding left his previous form well behind when stepped up in trip and finishing with a rattle from off the pace to be beaten a neck in a 1m 2f contest at Leicester.

Racing Knight was gaining hand over first at the finish, and the extra two furlongs this afternoon look sure to suit the unexposed son of Sir Percy.

In the 1m 2f lady amateur riders handicap that opens proceedings (14.30), Typhon is potentially well-treated if bouncing back to form and can go well at a big price.

The gelding won twice on the flat in 2013 when trained by David Lanigan, landing a classified stakes at Doncaster off an official rating of 68 and a handicap on the all-weather at Lingfield off 67.

The five-year-old then moved to Micky Hammond after the latter and won at the fourth time of asking after having his attention switched to hurdling.

Typhon has subsequently failed to cut any ice in three runs since being returned to the level, but is now able to run off a career-low mark of 64 as a result, and hails from a stable that has been in rude health in recent weeks.

Selections:
14.30: Typhon
15.00: Age Of Empire (NAP)
15.30: Sleeping Apache
16.00: Gran Canaria Queen
16.30: Racing Knight (NB)
17.00: Edgar Balthazar
17.30: Piccadilly Jim