ANN DUFFIELD'S horses have truly shone for the column during the past couple of months and there's no reason to believe that won't continue with Island Prince at Pontefract.

The Constable Burton-based trainer has a particularly pleasing bunch of two-year-olds, including Island Prince, who appeared to be crying out for a return to six furlongs when making significant late headway two starts ago on a visit to Beverley.

Moreover, close inspection of the video also reveals the selection didn't enjoy much luck in running, seeing as he was virtually stopped in his tracks at the furlong pole and had to be switched wide to deliver his challenge.

Neither was fortune on Island Prince's side when he reappeared just a couple days after that Beverley outing, this time taking his chance at Ripon only to find he was drawn on the "wrong" side of the track where the ground was much slower.

Now with the benefit of a handy low draw plus a step up in distance, there'll be no excuses if the son of Mull Of Kintyre doesn't figure prominently in the closing stages of the Maravel Nursery.

Having failed to make the track as a juvenile and the first part of his scheduled three-year-old campaign, the previously unbeaten Hinterland (3.20) is rapidly making up for lost time with two-from-two.

The handicapper has little idea how to rate Hinterland, who is up 6lb for beating the 125-1 shot Skidrow by a head at Haydock. I believe there's plenty more to come from the Sheikh Mohammed-owned blueblood, who is fancied to complete his hat-trick in the most valuable event on the card, the £15,000 Blanchisseuse Handicap.

Aided and abetted in no small part by the exploits of the 2004 European champion filly, Ouija Board, Ed Dunlop is gaining a deserved reputation as a man with the golden touch as far as the fairer sex are concerned.

Another filly to have responded to Ed's sympathetic regime is Tarabut, who has been successful in three of her last four runs. Although Tarabut (3.50) only prevailed by a 1 lengths when taken to Musselburgh in late September, she could have gone much further clear of her hapless rivals had Paul Hanagan put his foot to the floor a little earlier in the home straight.

Paul's season is sadly over due to an accident at Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting, where he broke his collarbone, making way for Richard Hills to resume his association with the fast-improving three-year-old.

While I'm convinced there'll be a boatload of cash for Beamish Prince in the Windows Solution Handicap, Whitby Echo (4.50) makes even more appeal.

Beamish Prince didn't see sufficient daylight to do himself justice when heavily gambled at Beverley recently, but even given an uninterrupted passage he could struggle to peg back Whitby Echo, who is coming on well judging by a narrow defeat at Thirsk.

Whitby Echo's conqueror, Balwearie, has since gone in again with a hard-fought Ayr victory, proving the form to be rock-solid in the context of today's fairly mediocre mile-and-a-half affair.

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