PUNTERS banking on trainer Barry Hills making a profit at Pontefract could be in for double-delight via Auction Room (2.30) and Shannon Springs (4.00).

Hills has always been a sublime handler of the gentle sex, so it will be no surprise if Auction House follows up last month's Chepstow success in the Racing UK Fillies' Nursery.

Auction Room showed the benefit of being stepped up to one mile at the south Wales venue by absolutely whistling home inside the final furlong. While it's true to say her long-term futures lies over longer distances, at the least the predominately uphill nature of the track will play to the selection's strengths.

The case for Shannon Springs is in a sense even more cast-iron after the three-year-old despatched a decent field with near imperious ease in an Epsom romp a fortnight ago.

The son of Darshaan possesses a very good pedigree which, to date, he hasn't always put to best use. But that situation all changed at the Derby venue, where Shannon Springs powered away with the spoils once Willie Supple let off the handbrake when the winning post came into view. Barry Hills' son, Michael, replaces Supple in the saddle but that shouldn't make a jot of difference, with conditions ideal for the Lambourn representative to plunder the richest race on the card, the £20,000 Dalby Screw-Driver Handicap.

A change of riding plans proved a revelation for Rubies (3.30) when she opened her account in a Yarmouth Maiden.

Previously hold-up tactics had been employed - patently not her bag since as soon as Steve Carson switched to a make-all policy, Rubies proceeded to blitz her rivals into acrimonious submission.

I've little doubt this afternoon's pilot, Eddie Ahern, will be in no mood to take prisoners up front, likely to push Rubies straight to the head of affairs and hope to stay there from his excellent low draw in stall five.

Having won in tremendously game fashion at Beverley on Tuesday, Saif Sareena (5.00) reappears under a 6lbs penalty for the Apprentice Series Handicap.

Richard Fahey is working wonders with his new recruit who, having only joined the yard in mid-summer, has won two from three starts for the in-form stable.

The National Hunt season is beginning to get into full swing and with Ann Duffield's string going particularly pleasingly, Constable Burton (2.50) warrants plenty of respect in Perth's Jewson Novices Hurdle.

Constable Burton has already scored over track and trip and for my money is one of the most promising young timber merchants seen out on the northern jumping circuit during the past couple of months.

Tony McCoy's presence aboard Mr Mischief (3.20) is sure to be noted in the market when the bookies chalk up prices for the Morris Leslie Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Although Mr Mischief hasn't had a run for over 100 days, he's gone well when fresh in the past and might easily have the class to defy top-weight in the extended two-and-a-half-miler.