IF the Allan E "Billy" Williams Memorial Trophy was being decided on paper based on form then Michael Marlow's Positive ID would be a cinch to top this three-year-old and upwards Overnight Allowance contest at Caymanas Park today.
But, the race has to be run and the fact that the 12-horse field is lined with a mixture of middle-distance sprinters and late-kickers makes this seven-furlong (1,400m) curtain call event all the more interesting.
Still, Positive ID and Jason DaCosta's Billy Whizz, along with the Spencer Chung-conditioned Race Car, are among the front-runners to cop the lion's share of the $1.14-million purse on offer.
Post time on the nine-race card is noon, with the feature set to go to post at 4:50 pm.
Positive ID has been a fairly consistent performer, having won three races and complemented by four second- and three third-place finishes from 18 starts last year.
This five-year-old already started the year on a positive note, closing well for second behind Lure of Lucy in the Fan Appreciation Day Trophy event over nine furlongs and 24 yards (1,820m) on January 2.
He will be better for that run, and though he would have liked it a bit longer Positive ID should have no issues with the distance and only needs to avoid traffic to run these close. Reyan Lewis retains the ride.
Billy Whizz, also five years old, left backers with poor form last year but has been pretty active at exercise since his fourth-place finish behind Perfect Brew and company on December 27. Often runs well when fresh and as such should relish a race of this nature as his season opener. He is certainly expected to be up with the pace, and once settled into his running could leave rivals in his wake with that crippling half-mile kick. Robert Halledeen will be in the saddle.
Though Race Car is down in class he does so with very little to recommend where his presence at exercise is concerned. That, coupled with the fact that he was a late scratch from the Ian Levy Stakes race on December 31, does leave a question mark around the nature of his fitness.
Additionally, this importee's form prior to that leaves much to be desired as he only registered two wins and a second-place finish in 11 starts. So, it is left to be seen where Race Car is in terms of fitness and how he goes about business on this occasion. Former champion jockey Omar Walker will do the honours.
Of the others, Edward Stanberry's Sweet Majesty and Paul Francis seem more likely to upset the applecart as they did better Positive ID over today's distance on August 28 last year. Though this mare failed to really make an impression since then, she is known to produce a surprising run every now and again and this season opener could see one of those efforts come to the fore, even if only for a minor placing.
Gary Subratie's four-year-old D Head Cornerstone, to be partnered with Anthony Thomas, is the youngest horse in the field and does pack some potential. However, he has not shown much in his three outings at this level and, while he has been taken to task at exercise since placing eighth in the Fan Appreciation Day race, he will require a big performance to turn the tables on his more-fancied rivals.
Crimson, the other Subratie trainee, is the chief late-kicker in the line-up who would have preferred it longer, though he failed to get going in time for the Fan Appreciation Day event over the circular course, beaten almost 10 lengths back in fifth. While an improved effort could be on the cards, one can't foresee Crimson moving any earlier than he normally does to top this field.
Big Big Daddy, who also hails from Subratie's stables, Dennis Thwaites' Daddy Jones, Three Times Lucky, Unruly Boss, The Good Witch and the other Marlow trainee Marquesas, complete the field for what is expected to be a mouth-watering affair.
Ones to watch
Race 1) My Mom Juss/Stallwalkin'Girl/Ridewiththemob
Race 2) Smooth Aviator/Whizz Kid/De Lye La
Race 3) Regal and Royal/Charmin Beauty/Zion
Race 4) Military Shot/Hopenperseverance/Pro Johnny
Race 5) Dodge This Link/Garrincha/Hecandance
Race 6) Babylon Will Fall/Rani Bangala/General Chief
Race 7) Letters In Gold/Wright In Flight/Tocatbetheglory
Race 8) Fly Messenger Fly/Shadowfax/Amad Ali
Race 9) Positive ID/Billy Whizz/Race Car