Sunday 8 December 2019

Exhort is an encouraging sort


Exhort has provided plenty of encouragement that she can carry out a successful return mission to Pontefract in the Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes.

Richard Fahey's filly was largely unconsidered in the market over the same course and distance almost three weeks ago.

But she belied her starting price of 25-1 as she showed a liking for this stiff track and delivered a withering late run to mow down back-to-form 2018 1000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook and previous York winner Agincourt.

Cheveley Park Stud's four-year-old has shown her true colours exclusively on quick ground so far this summer, but she has useful back form on soft and heavy too.

Unlike some of her rivals therefore, the threat of weekend rain in Yorkshire is no obvious detriment to her chances tomorrow - whether it comes to pass or not.

Exhort faces several worthy opponents, of course, in Listed class again and against the colts and geldings this time.

Nonetheless, in this highly-competitive renewal of Pontefract's mid-summer feature, Exhort has persuasive credentials.

In the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes on the same card, debutant Slaidburn represents connections accustomed to winning here.

Tim Easterby's gelding, from the family of Owington, is drawn widest of the eight runners but is bred to be a handy two-year-old at this minimum trip.

Joyful Mission can strike a winning tone in the Happy 70th Birthday Jackie Barber Maiden Stakes. Michael Stoute's colt has acquired a first-time hood for his third career start, after letting his supporters down at his second attempt when finishing only a disappointing third at Haydock this month.

He had looked the part when a closing fourth in a Newmarket maiden on debut, though.

Over jumps at Uttoxeter, Asockastar may claim top billing in the Brit Plant Direct Handicap Chase.

The former hunter chaser represents veteran trainer Milton Bradley, and both can roll back the years.

Asockastar must defy by far a career-high mark at the age of 11 - but he is vastly improved on his old handicap efforts, as he proved with an authoritative win at Worcester this month.

PONTEFRACT: 2.20 Slaidburn, 2.50 King And Queen, 3.20 Sod's Law, 3.55 EXHORT (NAP), 4.30 Musharrif, 5.05 Joyful Mission, 5.40 Astrophysics.

UTTOXETER: 2.00 Mrs Davies, 2.30 Whiskey And Water, 3.00 Seven De Baune, 3.35 Asockastar, 4.10 Sirobbie, 4.45 Purple King, 5.20 Jot'em Down.

DOUBLE: Exhort and Joyful Mission.

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