Tomorrow’s main race is open to all ages, colts, geldings, fillies and mares, with the females getting a 3 lb weight advantage.If this were a handicap Minnie’s Mystery would be conceding over a stone to her rivals, so she should be something close to a racing certainty and the bookies will price her up accordingly.But there is no such thing as a certainty – if there were bookies would drive Minis and punters would be in the Rolls-Royces – so if there is to be a shock result what will provide it?If you go back to May 2002 the form book shows Crossways beat Minnie’s Mystery by two lengths giving her 12 lb; a repeat of that form would see Alyson Malzard’s gelding in the winner’s enclosure.
But that was a long time ago and Crossways has not shown that level of form since.Giko came from the UK to win here in April and May, but his most recent run, fourth of seven in a Warwick handicap, does not look good enough.
Off Minor, last year’s easy winner, has not recaptured that level of form and was pulled up last time out in the CI Champion Hurdle with a slipping saddle; hardly an ideal preparation for a repeat performance.Out On A Promise, winner of the Champion Hurdle, is likely to be short of pace over this trip.
Warrior’s Path looks outclassed and Van Gurp needs to improve more than a stone, hardly likely for a ten-year- old.This leaves Compassionate, the winner in 2001, but off last year through injury.
He had looked a very pale shadow of his former self this season until last time when he ran third, four lengths behind dead-heaters Palala River and Bold Enough giving them 18 lb and 22 lb respectively.It would not take much improvement on that run to see Compassionate giving stablemate Minnie’s Mystery most to do.