York preview (14.40): Polybius can strike for in-form Lanigan
Trainer David Lanigan has his team in terrific shape, and Polybius can provide him with another winner in the 6f handicap at York today (14.40).
The Newmarket handler is traditionally slow to get going and his horses usually need a run or two to put them straight.
However, that has not been the case this season and Lanigan has saddled three first time out winners from his last eight runners.
In Polybius, he has a lightly-raced an unexposed gelding who has the potential to be better than a handicapper.
The four-year-old showed progressive form throughout last season when winning three of his seven starts, and was most impressive in the last of those when beating Royal Mezyan at Kempton.
After dwelling at the start, Polybius made smooth headway on the inside before taking up the running at the furlong marker and showing a smart turn of foot to win by 2 1/4 lengths off a mark of 94.
It was a performance which marked him the son of Oasis Dream out as a pattern performer in the making, and that view was confirmed on his final start last season when a staying on 1 1/4 length third to Intransigent in a Listed contest at Lingfield off an official rating of 102.
Polybius now switches back to handicap company off the same rating, and looks the type who has bags more to offer this season.
This race should also be run at a strong gallop which will suit Polybius, and with Ted Durcan in the saddle everything points to a huge run.
Mass Rally won the race two years ago off 2lb higher and could pose the biggest threat if putting his best foot forward.
The Michael Dods-trained eight-year-old is an enigmatic type who is prone to throwing in the odd stinker and needs everything to drop right to get his head in front.
However, the veteran is a useful hold-up performer on his day who has a telling turn of foot and is undoubtedly well-treated on the pick of his form.
Mass Rally also shaped well on seasonal reappearance when a not knocked about fourth to Out Do at Pontefract, and that should have put him spot on for this.