Pontefract preview: Oil primed to Strike
Oil Strike shaped as if coming to hand last time out and can take advantage of a drop in the weights to land the 6f handicap on this evening’s card at Pontefract (21.10).
The Mick Easterby-trained gelding scored twice over 5f back in 2013, landing a handicap at Beverley on fast ground by three lengths before following up four days later at Thirsk under a 6lb penalty.
Oil Strike made virtually all in the latter to win off a mark of 74, but after being raised 5lb his form tailed off.
The eight-year-old was also clearly amiss last season when well-beaten in two runs and subsequently off the track for 317 days.
However, there was lots to like about Oil Strike’s comeback run when a not knocked about eighth at Wolverhampton and he backed that up with a solid third at the same venue last time out when racing very wide before being beaten just 1 1/2 lengths.
Those runs show that Oil Strike retains enough ability to win a race off this nature, and the son of Lucky Story is now able to race off a rating of just 66.
That is 8lb lower than when last successful and gives Oil Strike major claims from a handicapping perspective if building on his latest effort.
Another plus is that Oil Strike has a good draw in stall three from which to attack, and with the stable in decent nick everything points to a big run.
In the 1m 2f handicap (20.10), the lightly-raced Making Shapes could well have got in lightly.
The Peter Chapple-Hyam trained colt has only had three starts and shaped with plenty of promise on the second of those when a 2 3/4 length third over course and distance to the now 90-rated Glan Y Gors.
Making Shapes duly built on that run to open his account in facile fashion at Newcastle, making all before drawing clear a furlong from home to score by six lengths without hardly having to break sweat.
It was a taking performance, and the assessor may have taken a chance in allotting the son of Makfi an opening handicap mark of just 77.
Making Shapes is clearly going the right way and should have plenty more to offer, and judge on his run behind Glan Y Gors looks weighted to take all the beating in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.
18.40: Martini Time
19.40: Swift Approval
20.10: Making Shapes (NB)
20.40: Orbit The Moon
21.10: Oil Strike (NAP)