A decent enough Listed race that has been won by the likes of Jack Dexter (16/1) (twice) in 2013 and 2105 and he is back to defend his title in 2016 for trainer Jim Goldie with jockey Phillip Makin in the saddle for the first ever time. In 2013 he won off a rating of 114, and last year off 105, and he is clearly going backwards at the age of seven as he is only rated 99 right now. In theory that gives him no chance whatsoever when you look at the other runners but beauty is as beauty does and he loves it here and cannot be left out of our race preview in those circumstances.
Growl (15/8) is the best horse in the race according to official ratings and Richard Fahey has already booked Graham Lee to ride which is always a positive. Last time out the four-year-old son of Oasis Dream ran his best race yet when a length runner up to The Tin Man in the Group One British Champions Sprint at Ascot and if he repeats that run this afternoon he is home and hosed and by far the likeliest winner, not one we can easily oppose in the circumstances.
Lady Macapa (12/1) is one of the few entries here in winning form and as a three-year-old, there is every reason to believe she may have even more to offer. Trained in West Sussex by William Knight the daughter of Equiano ran on strongly to win her third race at Goodwood last month over this trip, and she seems worthy of a try at this higher class and could yet be a pretty major player at a decent price for the each way players.
Meanwhile, Andrew Balding continues among the winners and his Absolutely So (6/1) cannot be easily dismissed. He has already won at Listed level twice at York and Salisbury and better still stays further than this six furlongs so a suicidal early pace will allow him to run on through beaten horses, though as things stands he does look rather unlucky with group class opponents and would expect to win a race like this in any other year.
Andrea Atzeni is a top jockey while David “Dandy” Nicholls is getting his reputation back as the sprint king this season and they are pairing up here with Kimberella (12/1) though he is basically a very good handicapper and won’t find this as easy. Last time out he finished a four and a half length fifth to Sovereign Debt at Doncaster in a Conditions Stakes and needs to offer up a lot more than that this afternoon, though if his trainer thinks he is up to this then presumably he is.
Running through a few others in brief and Jane’s Memory (22/1) is only a few pounds short of what is needed to get involved in the finish here and could land a place on a good day. Rae Guest’s son of Captain Rio is unsurprisingly better with a bit of cut in the turf and did win last time he was put in to a Listed race, though he has been caught out in better races since. Last of nine to The Happy Price at The Curragh last time he is better than that and may have found that going too soft even for him, but one a sensible racing surface Saturday he could be another challenging for the places.
As we all know, William Haggas is having a great season and is hitting a close to one in four strike rate at present, meaning that ignoring Dutch Destiny (20/1) who is a lightly raced three-year-old with two wins from just the seven starts. He would be taking a leap of faith in this grade on what we have seen so far and ought to be a better off in handicaps but when a yard are in good form all things are possible so you never know for certain.
To round things off we have Mick Easterby’s Perfect Pasture (8/1) who is rated to go close if only he can recapture his best form. Yet to win outside of handicap company it looks like a career best will be needed to get involved in the finish this afternoon and that seems pretty unlikely at the age of six and his last run leaves him with plenty to find with Kimberella and Absolutely So as well.