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Head Space tipped for win at Pontefract races
Head Space is napped to win the feature race at Pontefract tomorrow evening – in the hope that this mercurial character sticks to sprinting with no distractions.
Trained at Stillington by Ruth Carr, the ex-Irish gelding looks an exciting talent. But he has his quirks.
At Ayr two starts back, after leaving his rivals for dead inside the final furlong, he took a long look at the finishing line and proceeded to leap over it like a champion hurdler.
There was no harm done on that occasion, but there most certainly was when he returned to Ayr 11 days ago.
Again ridden by Jimmy Sullivan, he was involved in a driving finish and just appeared to be getting on top when, incredibly, about five strides from the post, he saw the finishing line, suddenly applied the brakes and left Sullivan hanging on for dear life after making a miraculous recovery, as he claimed third prize.
The tendency on racecourses is to mow a strip across the course to define the finishing line and it seems that Head Space has a thing about galloping over it. He also ducked out at it on the way down at Ayr last time, unseating Sullivan in the process.
Since then Carr has led him across a mown strip at home lots of times to gain his confidence.
Quite what will happen tomorrow night is anyone’s guess. There is no doubt that Head Space is a very talented sprinter, capable of winning the £10,300 Betfred Handicap. Whether he will squander his chance, however, in the final second or two, is the 64,000 dollar question. One thing is certain – Sullivan will be sitting extra-tight on him near the finish.
Tim Easterby can do little wrong at present and the Great Habton trainer has good prospects of winning the Countrywide Freight Maiden Stakes with Twilight Pearl.
The filly has had three chances to get off the mark, and has yet to open her account, but she did finish a respectable second at Hamilton last week and may not have to improve much on that effort to go one better.
Zowaina is taken to step up on her Windsor third last time in the totepool Fillies’ Handicap, while Tobrata may be able to score for the in-form Mel Brittain in the House That Jack Built Maiden Handicap.
The six-year-old went down narrowly at Chester last week and is surely capable of winning at this modest level.
The best of the afternoon action takes place at Ascot where the first day of the King George meeting is highlighted by the Cushman & Wakefield Handicap over six furlongs.
With £16,000 in prize money, it’s hardly a glowing showpiece on this prestigious weekend of Ascot racing, but Ralph Beckett won’t mind if he can score with Farlow. Given a break since being narrowly beaten at Haydock six weeks ago, Farlow, a lightly-raced sort, is open to further improvement.
Paul Hanagan has a good chance aboard Montaser in the Close Brothers Property Finance Handicap.
David Simcock’s charge was a winner at Haydock last time out on only his third start this season and looks the type to go on to better things.
Also worth noting at Ascot are the promising Pearl Bell (2.10), the useful-looking Havana Gold (2.45) and Sir Fredlot (5.35), a winner at Ayr last month.
2.10 Pearl Bell, 2.45 Havana Gold, 3.20 Montaser, 3.55 Farlow, 4.30 Ladyship, 5.05 Fluctuate, 5.35 Sir Fredlot.
6.25 Twilight Pearl, 7.00 Zowaina, 7.35 Head Space (NAP), 8.10 Talent Scout, 8.40 Tobrata, 9.10 Dream Catcher.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Haydock, Nottingham and Newmarket.
Today’s meetings: Bath, Brighton, Doncaster, Epsom, Hamilton and Leicester.