Graham Lee, victorious at Ayr on Grey Abbey in 2004 just days after partnering Ginger McCain’s Amberleigh House to Aintree glory, partners Jack Dexter for Scottish trainer Jim Goldie.
A Group Three winner at Newcastle this summer, Lee has opted to ride the progressive four-year-old over stablemate Hawkeyethenoo, who was second to defending champion Maarek 12 months ago.
“For Jack Dexter, this has been the target all year. We went for the Ayr Gold Cup first and he ran a great race but obviously we’d have loved to have won it,” said Goldie. “For Hawkeyethenoo, it’s similar conditions to last year when he ran second. We’ll just sit him on and come with a run and, hopefully, he’ll be coming to challenge Jack Dexter!”
Mass Rally arrives at Ascot on the back of a good win in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York seven days ago under PJ McDonald, who won the 2007 Scottish National on Ferdy Murphy’s Hot Weld before switching codes to the Flat.
“He has got some good form at Ascot. He’s run well there for us and before we got him he had good form on the track,” said trainer Michael Dods. “At Ascot, you need a horse that goes on the track and it’s a big plus for him. He’s got to take his chance. It’s not very often you have a horse with a squeak in a race like this.”
As for other local runners, Racy represents the in-form Brian Ellison stable; Hoof It carries the hopes of golfer Lee Westwood and the retiring Mick Easterby while connections of the Richard Fahey-trained Heaven’s Guest decided to fork out £20,000 to supplement the progressive three-year-old after his Ascot victory last weekend.