4:00 – Pontefract – FAMILY DAY ON SUNDAY 19TH AUGUST HANDICAP (CLASS 3) (3yo+ 0-95) Good To Firm 1m4f8y
Sir Graham Wade runs in a Class 3 Handicap this afternoon after making a successful handicap debut in a large field at Glorious Goodwood last week when he won the Class 2 UBS Stakes. The Mark Johnston trained 3 year old grey colt was making only his 5th career start and after winning his Maiden two starts back is looking for a hat-trick of wins this afternoon.
He ran twice last season at the back end of the season with both of his starts coming over 1 mile 2 furlongs which is the longest distance a 2 year old horse is permitted to run over. He acquitted himself well on both occasions, most notably when he finished in 2nd place at Pontefract on his last start in October.
He made his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster on Lincoln day at the end of March over 1 mile 2 furlongs in a Class 5 Maiden race finishing down the field after leading until 3 furlongs out. He was not seen again until the end of April when he ran in a Class 5 Maiden at Haydock. He was up in distance to 1 mile 4 furlongs and the longer distance looked to do the trick. He was prominent for most of the race before loosing his place 3 furlongs out. However, he rallied over 1 furlong out to lead and ran on to win by a neck. His last run was his Handicap debut at Goodwood last week when after sitting in midfield he made headway from 2 furlongs out, going to the front well over a furlong out and despite drifting slightly right he stayed on strongly to assert inside the final furlong and going away to win by 1 ¾ lengths.
The going at Pontefract is Good to Firm and Sir Graham Wade does appear to be adaptable winning in Good ground and Soft ground and finishing 2nd in Good to Firm going. He runs over 1 mile 4 furlongs again this afternoon and is now two wins from two starts over the distance.
Joe Fanning rides him again having ridden him on all three of his starts this season. Joe has made a very good start to August winning 7 times from 31 runs month to date for a 23% winning strike rate.
Sir Graham Wade carries a 6lb penalty for his Goodwood win but he is also in receipt of 11lbs for his weight for age allowance as he is a 3 year old horse running against older horses. This means that he gets into the race at the bottom of the handicap and receives between 3lbs and 14lbs from the rest of the field. Running just 7 days after a layoff may not be ideal, but he did run a decent race last season on his 2nd career start just 7 days after his racecourse debut. His yard are in fine form at the moment and given that he won so impressively at Goodwood coupled with his improvement over the distance on his last two starts, a 6lb penalty looks unlikely to stop him today.