Tip of the day: Star man

Ian Ogg ponders an imponderable question or two before deciding to head to Pontefract for today's racing tip.

Tony Hamilton heads to Pontefract rather than Ayr

Stardrifter, 5.40 Pontefract

The Stobart Jockeys' Championship makes things very easy in some respects.

As the title race draws to a conclusion you know that wherever Jim Crowley and Silvestre de Sousa are riding will be where they – or their agents – believe that they have the chance of riding the most winners.

Paul Hanagan, meanwhile, has a ride apiece at Yarmouth and Chelmsford City with Hamdan al Maktoum's second rider, Dane O'Neill,on duty at Pontefract.

There is no money for Hanagan's mount at Yarmouth, Ekhtiyaar, an unraced son of Bated Breath who, according to last week's Catching Pigeons column, has some of the owner's top brass on hand to watch his most recent piece of work.

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The market suggests this initial experience may be needed whereas the betting for the nursery which opens Chelmsford's card indicates that Thammin is felt capable of making a winning handicap debut.

It wasn't just Hanagan's whereabouts that intrigued me but also those of Tony Hamilton.

Richard Fahey has a strong representation on the opening day of Ayr but Hamilton heads to Pontefract where Fahey has a near one in four strike rate with his juveniles.

Any support for Brian The Snail in the opener then would have to be of interest but the one who caught my eye was Stardrifter in division two of the Matty Bown Handicap.

All the money is for Irish Optimisim which means that Stardrifter is currently available at 9/2 which some may view as a viable each-way price. The four-year-old isn't exactly well handicapped but he is running well from his current perch and has a decent record at the course.

In three visits, he has finished fifth (beaten two and a quarter lengths) off 75, second (beaten half a length) off 72 and third (beaten one and a half lengths) off today's mark of 73, returning a beaten favourite in those last two runs.

The form of his latest run at Epsom is solid with the winner having gone in again and the second running solidly in defeat and this contest doesn't appear to be as competitive as some races he has contested of late.

In all, this looks a pretty decent opportunity and it's hard to envisage the consistent Stardrifter not being involved in the finish and he may even be able to get his head in front again.

Posted 0832 BST on 15/09/2016

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