Pontefract preview: Spiraea in bloom and Hoofalong can bounce back
Spiraea bounced back to form when an excellent second last time out, and can take advantage of a drop in class to go one better in the 6f handicap on today’s competitive seven-raced card at Pontefract (17.10).
The Mark Rimell trained mare enjoyed a productive 2014 when winning three times, with the last of those successes coming off a mark of 70 at Salisbury.
Spiraea is now able to race off just 3lb higher, having signalled that her time was near when chasing home the in-form Gran Canaria Queen in a class 3 contest over course and distance 37 days ago.
After being held-up well off the pace, Spiraea stayed on in good style to be nearest at the finish and beaten 2 3/4 lengths.
That was the five-year-old’s third run of the campaign, and the daughter of Bahamian Bounty should now be spot on to do herself justice.
Spiraea also now drops down into class 4 company and, with Graham Lee in the saddle, this looks a good opportunity for her to get back to winning ways.
In the 5f handicap (16.10), Hoofalong can cash-in on a career-low mark to score an overdue success.
The Mick Easterby trained gelding was in good form in 2013 when landing back-to-back handicaps at Doncaster and Windsor.
Hoofalong scored off a mark of 77 in the latter and went on to finish runner-up in a class 2 contest over 5f at York off 84.
The five-year-old drew a blank last year, but is now able to race in this class 5 affair off just 68, so that gives Hoofalong outstanding claims at the weights of the pick of his form.
Hoofalong also hinted that his time was near four starts back at York when an eye-catching 3 1/4 length fifth of 18 to Harwoods Volante, and although the son of Pastoral Pursuits has failed to build on that effort he is just the type to bounce back at any time.
Connections are also now trying Hoofalong in blinkers for the first time and, if the fitting of the new headgear has the desired effect, he looks weighted to take all the beating.
16.10: Hoofalong (NB)
17.10: Spiraea (NAP)