Too Early (#3) seems like the horse to beat as he attempts to better the pair of runner-up results that he achieved in his last two starts at this level. He lost nothing in defeat behind the vastly improved Advanced Strategy two back, and last time was simply second-best to superior stablemate Cold Hard Cash. He’s earned some strong speed figures for those efforts, and he now finds himself in an easier spot. Furthermore, he projects to work out a great trip up close to the front in a race that lacks much pace. He’s a deserving favorite, but he has had his chances and probably doesn’t have much more improvement in him. I’m hardly against him, but I do think there are some others to consider at better prices.
Yet likely co-favorite Tiergan (#6) is not one of those. While this 5-year-old has obviously improved in his last two starts, he was aided by a perfect ground-saving trip over a rail-biased course last time. The 97 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned for that performance doesn’t put him in the same league as the Linda Rice-trained favorite.
I instead prefer the other logical player WILD BANKER (#5). He’s also making the move up in class, but he’s earned that right after a pair of solid performances against claimers. He was much the best two back on Jan. 8 when he made a premature move into a fast pace and still held on over the in-form Dust Devil. And then last time he had no right to get as close to the superior rival Twelfth Labour as he did, but he made a relentless rally from off the pace, racing wide of an advantageous rail while closing into slow fractions. He’s in great form right now and he’s getting a positive rider switch to Kendrick Carmouche.
Exacta: 5 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 3,5 with 3,5 with 2,4,6