3.45 Pontefract

The fact that this meeting has to survive a morning inspection tells you how testing the conditions are likely to be for Yorkshire track’s first flat fixture, but that won’t bother connections of SURPRISE VENDOR (best price 3/1) one jot as he bids to land this marathon for the third consecutive year. Treading a very similar path to the one he went down twelve months ago, Stuart Coltherd’s inmate arrives here following a pipe-opening outing at Hexham over fences when he was a creditable runner-up to the front-running track specialist, Flaming Thistle and that outing should put him at fever-pitch for this afternoon. Likely to bowl along in front, the son of Fath is a real tough nut to crack when allowed to do so, and at the very least, his in-running price will shrink dramatically from his opening fix-odds quotes of 5/1.
Surprise Vendor - 1pt @ 3/1Lost -1pt

5.30 Fairyhouse

GLENWOOD FOR EVER (best price 8/1) was a shade unlucky not to finish closer than he did here last week and with his sights now lowered, Paul Gilligan’s charge has every chance of finally breaking his duck over fences under rules. Clearly connections were pot-hunting for prize money earlier in the campaign, running their charge out of his depth in Grade 2 races at Gowran and Naas, but back in to more realistic company, the son of King’s Theatre ran a blinder in what turned out to be a decent affair on the speed figures at Wexford two starts ago. In finishing runner up to the useful Westerner Point, the eight-year-old posted his best set of figures so far to date, and with the winner and the third, both going on to advertise the quality of the race subsequently, the form looks solid. Having ridden him down at the Leinster venue, Rachael Blackmore teamed up with him again over today’s C&D eight days ago and if it wasn’t for getting badly hampered going for an ambitious run up the inside rail after the second last, the duo might have prevailed. Either way, it was still a useful return from this former point-to-point winner and he rates a cracking each-way bet at his top morning odds in what appears a much weaker affair.
Glenwood For Ever - 1pt e/w @ 8/1Lost -2pt

5.40 Ludlow

ASCENDANT (best price 9/1) doesn't arrive here in the kind of form that would make him maximum stakes material, but there's a decent chance that a return to the Shropshire venue where he has such a fine record may just ignite the flame. Yet to finish out of the frame in four visits (1123), Johnny Farrelly's charge last victory was achieved over today's C&D 14 months ago and although he's run some commendable races in defeat in the interim, it's clearly been a struggle to recapture former glories. The son of Medicean, however, has slipped back down to a winnable mark and as most of those slightly below-par efforts have been on genuine winter ground over distances beyond his best, everything looks in place for him to bounce back to form under his optimum conditions.
Ascendant - 0.5pt e/w @ 9/1Lost -1pt