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Vertem Futurity hopeful's form could hold the key to Pontefract puzzle

2.20 Pontefract
British Stallions Studs EBF Silver Tankard Stakes (Listed) | 2yo | 1m6y | RTV

The Martyn Meade-trained Zechariah is no bigger than 16-1 for next Saturday's Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster and that sheds some light on the form of the market leader for what has proved an informative race on occasions. 

The colt in question is Westover, the Juddmonte homebred son of Frankel who chased Zechariah home in another race with a rich tradition of unearthing future talent, the Haynes Hanson and Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury.

Westover was two and a quarter lengths down on the winner at the line but pulled well clear of the rest. 

Grenoble and Approachability also put clear daylight between themselves and the scrum at Nottingham 12 days ago and the market is likely to respect both, hailing as they do from the yards of William Haggas and Mark Johnston. 

A couple of the results on Champions Day pointed to the importance of having a fresh horse at this stage of the season and as such Sweeping's fourth-placed effort behind Point Lonsdale and Reach For The Moon in the Chesham at Royal Ascot might look slightly ancient history.

But it is the standout piece of Pattern form on offer, while the son of Siyouni has been given a break after his third in the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury was followed by a gelding operation. 

Thunder Max showed a good attitude when winning on his debut at Doncaster during the St Leger meeting and looks likely to appreciate an extra furlong.

What they say
Steve Brown, assistant trainer of Flash The Dash
We just wanted to give him a step up in class. He's been progressive in all his runs and last time he was giving a lot of weight to the winner, so it was a creditable effort. We'd just like to test the waters before we close his season out. I think conditions will be tough for all of them as I could imagine it being reasonably testing ground, and on a stiff track. It's a little bit of a fact-finding mission but we're very happy with him.

William Butler, assistant trainer of Mahagoni
He's won twice and has been placed on most of his other runs. He's been beaten a few times under a penalty and he won very well the last time at Chester. He's going to the sales, so it's worth a shot at this race. On official ratings he's got a bit to do but what he does have is plenty of experience, he's thoroughly professional and he runs his race every time.

Emily Scott, racing manager for Amo Racing, owners of Thunder Max and Mr Professor
Thunder Max pleasantly surprised all of us with his natural ability on debut. Richard [Hannon, trainer] had considered starting him over a mile, but we tried him over seven and he managed to get his head in front, doing it quite nicely. He's progressed since that run and he deserves to take his place at Listed level as a two-year-old. Mr Professor pulled a bit hard the other day in the Group 3 and has tended to over-race early on. Alice [Haynes, trainer] thinks the bend should help him settle and she's hopeful he'll see out the stiff mile.

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