Pontefract preview: hat-trick-seeking Johnston relies on Final


Johnston: bidding for a third successive win in the race

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

4.10 Pontefract

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Mark Johnston enjoyed the perfect start to the turf season at Leicester on Friday and he saddles Final in a bid to land a third successive victory in this £25,000 handicap.

Johnston celebrated success with his first runner on the turf with the impressive Galapiat, while his all-weather team have maintained a near-20 per cent strike-rate this year.

One of those to have blossomed over the winter is Final, who has recorded two victories and two seconds since the turn of the year, and remains unexposed after just seven starts on turf.

The Middleham trainer has landed the last two runnings of this race with Master Of Finance, while Richard Fahey has triumphed in three of the last seven renewals and runs Innocent Touch and Imshivalla – the latter unbeaten in three starts at the track and the mount of Paul Hanagan.

Double bubble
Tim Easterby saddled the joint-winners in 2012 when it was a dead-heat between Mirrored and Deauville Flyer. He runs Snoano and Just Hiss.

What they say

Mick Quinn, trainer of Great Hall
He had his first run back at Lingfield last month and that should bring him on. The stiff track over a mile and a quarter will suit him and he’s less exposed over this trip.

Tom Dascombe, trainer of Cymro
He’s wintered well and we’ll see in which direction we go with him after this. The drop in trip shouldn’t be a problem as it’s his first run back at a stiff track and they should go a good gallop.

Ralph Beckett, trainer of Magic Circle
The trip is short of his optimum and he does need some juice in the ground but it doesn’t look like we’re going to get much rain in the short term. This will start him on the road for 2017.

Tim Easterby, trainer of Snoano and Just Hiss
Snoano is working well and Just Hiss is in good order and unexposed. They are both nice horses who would appreciate a little juice in the ground.

Richard Fahey, trainer of Innocent Touch and Imshivalla
Imshivalla doesn’t have a great draw and the drying ground is against her, but she has run well fresh. Innocent Touch doesn’t have much in hand with the handicapper but goes there in good shape.

Charlie Johnston, son and assistant to Mark Johnston, trainer of Final
He’s had a very successful winter with the only blip coming at Kempton last time when things didn’t pan out for him. The switch back to turf is no concern and the course and trip are spot on. He should have a good chance.

Roger Fell, trainer of Hail Clodius
He ran really well at Doncaster and Silvestre [De Sousa] thought he would have won if he’d been able to keep to the rail. He’s come out of the race well. We’ve put the hood on but he is poorly drawn.


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