Seven runners are set to go to post for the Sky Bet Sunday Series Pontefract Castle Fillies' Stakes (16:45), the most valuable heat on the card with over £43,000 on offer to the winner.
The key to this race could be the listed contest won by Bartzella (112p) at Goodwood in April, with three of the first four set to clash once again. Bartzella was the most lightly-raced member of the field and she took a big step forward to register the third success of her career. Admittedly, she very much enjoyed the run of things from the front, but the official winning margin of a neck probably doesn't do her superiority justice as she appeared to have something up her sleeve.
That was just her fourth start and her first after seven months on the sidelines, so it will be no surprise if she has an even bigger effort in the locker. William Haggas has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag to denote that his yard is in rude health and Bartzella could well be capable of defying a penalty to make it two wins in a row.
Lady Hayes (115) filled the runner-up spot at Goodwood, running right up to her best on her first start for six months. She then wasn't seen to best effect when sixth in the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock Park three weeks ago, doing well to be beaten only two and a half lengths after being caught further back than ideal in a steadily-run race. She receives 3 lb from Bartzella today and another bold bid seems assured for Roger Varian, who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag.
Glenartney (119) was beaten five lengths when fourth at Goodwood, but she stepped up on that effort with a career best when finishing third in the Bronte Cup at York last time, passing the post less than two lengths behind the winner despite being impeded in the closing stages. That form reads well in the context of this race, though the drop back to a mile and a half isn't sure to play to her strengths.
The best of the rest looks to be By Starlight (112), who showed improved form when finishing fourth on her return to action in the Pinnacles Stakes. She was beaten just a length and a quarter and it was a particularly good run given that she didn't settle fully and briefly met some trouble a furlong out. She was seemingly full value for a useful performance and it showed that she has the ability to make an impact at this level.
By contrast, Goldie Hawk (108), The Flying Ginger (106) and Vindobala (91) all look out of their depth judged on the balance of their form. Goldie Hawk is at least reliable and she could pick up a share of the prize money for Chris Wall (who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag) if her reappearance in a handicap at Goodwood last month has blown the cobwebs away.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
In theory Bartzella may struggle to confirm narrow Goodwood superiority over Lady Hayes on 3 lb worse terms but the William Haggas-trained filly should have more to come after only 4 starts and is selected to come out on top again. Glenartney, who was arguably unfortunate in a York Group 3 last time, is another who should be in the thick of things.
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