Best bet on Monday's ultra-trappy Bath card is William Muir's Grayswood in the 16:00, the second division of a low-grade 13-furlong handicap. It's fair to say that the son of Dalakhani hasn't lived up to early expectations, with his trainer opining that he might turn into a Derby contender before he'd set foot on a racecourse. Still a maiden after ten starts, he's certainly been disappointing, particularly on turf, but there are reasons for believing he can begin to make amends today.
Grayswood was tried in cheekpieces at Kempton last week, and put up a career-best performance in going down narrowly to the well-ridden Prospera, with several talented performers behind in that competitive 0-85 event. The most pleasing aspect of that performance was the way he rallied after being headed, as he's been a weak finisher more often than not. It's pretty safe to say that a repeat of that effort would win today, as he was facing a much better class of opponent than he does today, where he drops to lowly 0-60 company from a much-reduced turf mark.
There's the rub, of course. Grayswood hasn't yet shown the ability on turf that he has on Kempton's polytrack, and backing him to run to the same level is clearly taking a rather optimistic viewpoint. On the other hand, the handicapper has given him a big chance by dropping him markedly in the weights for his last 2 runs of this surface, and it's hard to be adamant that he won't show himself much better at some point given his limited opportunities. He is, after all, a half-brother to the smart US turf performer Ticker Tape, out of a half-sister to Racing Post Trophy winner Crowded House. His pedigree is one of a fast-ground turf performer, and he's only had one opportunity to run on a sound surface in his career to date. He was far from disgraced in a much stronger race than this at Leicester last month, and is worth sticking with from what may look an exceptionally lenient mark.
Another horse who is overpriced based on a single poor run on turf is Silver Alliance (15:30), who saw a good run of form come to an end at Windsor last month, but has been given six weeks to recover from that moderate run, and had previously run better than the bare result at Goodwood's "Glorious" meeting. That followed a brace of wins under today's much improved rider at Yarmouth in April and June.
The son of Proclamation showed he wasn't handicapped out of things at Goodwood, making rapid progress on the bridle before getting involved in a bit of barging around a furlong out, and fading as those exertions told. He's usually a strong traveller, and simply looked jaded at Windsor, so ought to be freshened up by a short break. This is a tough race, and winning won't be easy, but Silver Alliance has the tools to take a good position from a wide draw (not the negative it might be at Bath), and he looks nailed on to trade much shorter than his pre-race price. Current odds of 66/1+ are simply insulting.
While Silver Alliance appeals as a back-to-lay option in that contest, the one who they all have to beat is Appease, an easy winner of a mile maiden on his belated return at Kempton recently, and one who is open to any amount of improvement now tackling this two-furlong longer trip. A brother to Ballet Move, who won over fifteen furlongs for Andre Fabre, and out of an eleven-furlong winner, Appease is likely to step up on what he's shown to date, having had his sole juvenile outing over six furlongs. The Kempton win was thoroughly professional, and while he's got to prove himself on turf after a fairly quick turnaround, he's potentially a class apart, and is hardly a prohibitive price.
All at Bath
Back Appease @ 5.49/2 in the 15:30 (NB)
Back Silver Alliance @ 55.054/1 in the 15:30 (lay stake back in running)
Back Grayswood @ 7.26/1 in the 16:00
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