Meraas on the mark again at Pontefract

Johnston runner could have Royal Ascot date.

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Meraas could be set for a quick reappearance at Royal Ascot following an impressive display in the Mam And Dad Reunited Love Team Wood Handicap at Pontefract.

Mark Johnston’s sprinter was unraced at two but is quickly making up for lost time, taking his record to two from three.

An easy winner at Kempton 13 days ago, he had to overcome a wide draw under Joe Fanning and despite his stride shortening close home, Meraas (5-4 favourite) was still a length and a half ahead of the 99-rated Troubador, who set a solid standard.

Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: “That’s twice I’ve watched him now and thought he was in trouble at halfway, but he’s just got a lot of class.

“We were mindful this was a track which wouldn’t play to his strengths as he’s got a lot of speed, but it was too good an opportunity to miss and is more experience under his belt.

“I don’t think he’ll run over as stiff a six furlongs as this when he goes up in grade and I wouldn’t rule out coming back to five at some stage because he’s got a hell of a lot of boot.

“I put him in the Wokingham this morning as there’s a Silver one this year so he might scrape in that, so I threw him in just in case.

“Joe said he was cursing himself at halfway as he thought he might get beat despite being on the best horse as he was wide and was doing plenty, but the horse found plenty.”

Candescence may have returned at 25-1 in the David Wildon Marching On Together Memorial Novice Auction Stakes, but it was no surprise to her connections.

Mark Walford’s filly held off Ian Jardine’s Kraken Power despite looking like being caught on more than one occasion, winning by a head with the pair well clear.

“The guys who own her had a few quid on at 50-1 last night,” said Walford.

“We ran a two-year-old here last week that finished fifth who wasn’t beaten far and this one had been working marginally better.

“We thought she’d come on for a run, but she obviously knew her job well. We’ve got some nice to-year-olds this year.

“Sales races off low weights are possible. Her dam stayed 10 furlongs but we’re in no rush to step her up in trip. Nathan (Evans) was even concerned she was doing too much too early.”

Escape Route became Richard Fahey’s first juvenile winner since the resumption in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden.

Slowly away, he showed signs of greenness early before Danny Tudhope’s mount really found his stride when brought wide into the straight.

The 6-1 chance beat 11-8 favourite Lockdown by a neck.

“It was a nice performance considering he was green early on. He was drawn on the outside which didn’t help first time out,” said Tudhope.

“Once he found his feet he showed a nice attitude. He’s still a bit backwards so will improve a lot from that.”

Tudhope later doubled up when David O’Meara’s Returnofthemac (2-1 favourite) paid a handsome compliment to his Newcastle conqueror Brunch, who gave him 7lb and an easy beating.

There was nothing of that calibre in the Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) Ltd Median Auction Maiden Stakes, and Tudhope controlled matters from a long way out, winning by a length and three-quarters.

By his standards Sir Mark Prescott has made a blistering start to the season and registered his fourth winner when Revolver (3-1) got going late for Luke Morris in the 12-furlong handicap.

Micky Hammond’s Frankelio, available at 33-1 on Sunday evening, landed a well orchestrated gamble under Graham Lee at 4-1 in the Racing Welfare Handicap.

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