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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Gabr looks to follow Convey's lead for another Sir Michael Stoute success

Another Touch and Tony Hamilton: bidding for a repeat win in the Listed mile feature at Pontefract on Sunday
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3.35 Pontefract
Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes | Listed | 1m6yds | 
3yo+ | RUK

There is the prospect of another north-south battle in this rare British black-type race on a Sunday, with this year's winner set to assert their part of the country ahead in the standings in a race that started life as a handicap 14 years ago.

The score is 7-7 after 13 runnings as there was a dead-heat in 2010 between two southern runners, who are outnumbered with just two of the six-strong field this year.

That is countered by one of them, Gabr, likely to be sent off the short-priced favourite following defeats behind Without Parole, including in the Group 1 St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot, earlier in the season. 

The three-year-old finished second in a Listed-race at Newmarket last time when staying on well close to home.

His trainer Sir Michael Stoute won this mile race with Convey two years ago after he had contested the Hunt Cup at the royal meeting and the Group 2 Summer Mile at the track.

However, Gabr will have to defy race statistics as three-year-olds have only won this race once, when Sound Breeze was successful in 2005.

Mark Johnston, who trained Sound Breeze, has the other three-year-old in this year's contest in Ventura Knight, who remains in the Unibet Golden Mile at Goodwood on Friday but looks doubtful to get in.

Middleham Park racing's Tom Palin warned that Ventura Knight – fourth to the owners' Raymond Tusk over a mile and a half in the Glasgow Stakes last time – is not a certain runner with the mixed weather forecast, but reported: "He's progressing at a rapid rate, as Mark Johnston's horses do, and deserved his chance in the Glasgow."

Watch Another Touch win the Pomfret Stakes last year

Among the older horses is Another Touch, who won the race last year, but Richard Fahey was realistic with his assessment of his charge following up.

"It's a little bit more competitive than last year so he needs to improve, but he's been running okay and the beauty of him is he goes on any ground, and any more rain might see one or two drop out."

Chris and Martin Dixon, of The Horse Watchers, hoping for another celebration with their Zetland Gold Cup winner Big Country

Zetland Gold Cup winner Big Country, trained by Mick Appleby, is arguably the best chance of another northern success.

Chris Dixon, partner in The Horse Watchers ownership, said: "He came out of Sandown well and Ryan [Moore] said he might be better going back left-handed.

"He's genuine, but he does have a look around in front and that's why we've gone for the cheekpieces.

View Big Country's win in the Zetland Gold Cup

"It's different to the other Listed races he's run in. He's the class horse this time on ratings, and I think a stiff mile on good or good to soft will suit him well."

Salateen, who would be the first six-year-old to win the race, represents David O'Meara, who won back-to back runnings of this with Custom Cut (2014) and Mondialiste.

Secret Art, trained by William Knight, who won the race with Fire Ship in 2013, completes the field.

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He's the 'class' horse this time on ratings and I think a stiff mile on good or good to soft will suit him well
E.W. Terms
Sky bet