On the one hand some punters just lap up these novelty races (all horses have to be greys to be allowed to enter or run), but on the other hand serious ones won’t be as happy with not one winning favourite in the last ten renewals and winners at all odds up to 20/1. Without a single trainer winning this more than once we have no patterns to follow (even the weights range from seven stone ten to nine stone ten), so we need to look at nothing other than the form book and that leads us straight to Case Key (4/1) who is the only last time out winner in the entire field. Only a three-year-old he is trained by the ever shrewd Michael Appleby and scored by a neck last Sunday from Dance Alone when staying on late under Andrew Mullen, who is all set to ride him again this afternoon, and in a race with so few in form options to choose form, even a six pound penalty should not be enough to stop him.
Trainer Ronald Harris is in fine form with five winners from his last sixteen runners as we write, and that means a better look at Pensax Lad (10/1) who arrives here on the back of a respectable third to Newton’s law at Bath last time out. The five-year-old does seem to be better over five furlongs than the six he faces this afternoon but he was a bit one paced last time and may even appreciate another go at the extra furlong.
Poor Syrian Pearl (8/1) has the burden of top weight this afternoon for trainer Chris Wall and jockey Ted Durcan but in theory that makes her the best horse and she has got winning form already this season, and over course and distance as well. The only trouble is that the going was good to soft that day and it seems certain to be an awful lot quicker this afternoon, but she has won on a similar surface in the past but in lesser company and off a much lower rating. Last time out she was eased off once beaten here in a similar race and it will be interesting to see if it was the weight that stopped her or if something was amiss.
Looking for each way options and Clive Cox’s Andar (5/1) has placed in three of his four starts this season with a second at Haydock on his return over this trip, a staying on second over five furlongs at Bath, and a third to Dutch Destiny at Haydock, with a fifth at Doncaster between the last two. Still a maiden after nine starts he clearly needs to find a bit more to get involved here and despite all his places he has been beaten comfortably each time, and although he could place today it won’t be easy and his supporters will need to make sure he is priced up accordingly.
To finalise our race preview Time Medicean (12/1) may be a veteran at the age of ten but he keeps on running well with three out of three top four finishes recently. Admittedly he has not won since March 2014 so isn’t exactly easy to make a case for, but he is potentially well weighted after jockey David Egan claims his seven pounds and may run a lot better than his likely odds suggest.