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Rally makes Mass Appeal in Coral Sprint Trophy

Mass Rally has major claims at the weights of landing the valuable Coral Sprint Trophy at York today (3.30) for the second year running.

The Michael Dods trained gelding is a dual course and distance winner, and the last of those successes came in this contest 12 months ago where Mass Rally came with his customary late run to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths from Seeking Magic off a mark of 103.

The seven-year-old is now able to race off 1lb lower, having since performed with great credit in Group company.

Those runs include an excellent fourth of 13 to Maarek in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes over course and distance on soft ground back in May where Mass Rally stayed on strongly to be beaten just 2 1/4 lengths.

The form of that race looks strong in the context of this contest, and Mass Rally backed up that effort with an eye-catching ninth of 15 to Blaine at this venue when given an ill-judged ride by Paul Mulrennan and beaten just 2 1/2 lengths.

Although Mass Rally has not been at his best in his last two starts, the son of Kheleyf now has underfoot conditions to suit and is sure to have been primed to make a bold defence of his crown.

The are plenty of dangers in a wide open contest, and two that made my shortlist are Aetna and Fast Shot.

The former is trained by the shrewd Mick Easterby, and has a progressive profile.

The lightly raced filly has won two of her four starts this season, and the last of those victoriees came over course and distance on soft ground where Aetna beat Baccarat by 1 1/4 lengths in a hot 20-runner contest off a mark of 92.

Aetna now has to race off 7lb higher, but remains open to further improvement and will relish the soft ground.

Fast Shot is trained by Tim Easterby and has contested a number of valuable handicaps since landing back-to-back contests in April.

The six-year-old didn’t get the clearest of runs when a 2 1/4 length fourth to Aerna here back in May and now meets the winner on 1lb better terms.

That suggest there shouldn’t be much between the pair, and Fast Shot comes into the contest on the back of a cracking fifth of 27 in the Ayr Gold Cup on quick ground which was far from ideal.

Today’s easier surface will be much more up Fast Shot’s street, and the gelding looks a major player in the hands of promising 7lb claimer Rachel Richardson.