The controversial rehandicapping of Tony Cruz-trained Willie Cazals after his recent Group One placing will get a proper airing on Wednesday night when the stayer steps back in distance to the Happy Valley Vase.
Willie Cazals ran well above his handicap rating in the Champions & Chater Cup for second to California Memory but was penalised only five pounds in the ratings for it. Other horses had been raised by ten pounds during the season in the same scenario so some rival trainers were understandably angry, but the minor lift leaves Willie Cazals a weighted certainty in the midweek Class One feature if he can bring that 2,400m form back to 1,800m.
After a day away on a disappointing Glorious Days in the Group One Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo on Sunday, Douglas Whyte is again absent, this time through a suspension, giving Zac Purton another chance to close the premiership gap but Brett Prebble looks to have the rides to star on the night.
Prebble is a beneficiary of Whyte’s sidelining in the first race, taking over from him on low grade galloper, Kingston Elite. The gelding has only ever won one race but put the writing on the wall last week that he is ready to do it again when run down only in the final stages after having a hard wide trip over 1,650m.
Prebble also has good mounts on Novel Star in the second, Silver Dragon in the fourth and promising three-year-old Bundle Of Joy in the fifth.
In the last race, Prebble gets the one gate at the right time with B Choice from David Hall’s team. Lightly-raced with only seven runs, the five-year-old has had a series of injuries problems and has raced twice since the latest mid-season problems, but will be fitter now and able to use the better draw.
By Nathan Mody