12/23/2008 12:00AM

Post gives William Tell better shot


William Tell has made his finest overtures at seven furlongs and beyond, but breaking from the outside post when he returns fresh from a layoff could make him an upset threat Saturday in the six-furlong Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park.

Based at Keeneland with trainer Phil Sims, William Tell will make his first start in more than four months in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer, the 11th of 12 races at the Florence, Ky., track.

"I really haven't been able to find a suitable race for him, and I've wanted to keep him on the Polytrack because he's run so well over it," said Sims. "He's probably better from seven furlongs to a mile, but this looked like the right kind of spot to come back in. Plus I like the outside post, especially since horses are winning quite a bit from out there this meet."

Indeed, horses from the 10 through 12 posts in Turfway sprints have fared better than average during the holiday meet, winning a combined 20 races from 138 starts (14.5 percent). Horses from post 12 have won 5 of 26 (19 percent).

Tommy Pompell, who into Friday action was the leading rider at the meet with 14 victories, has the call on William Tell, a winner in 4 of 7 tries over synthetic tracks.

William Tell is just one of a handful of viable contenders in the Holiday Cheer, which dates to 1989. The probable favorite is Rouse the Cat, who had specialized in turf sprints until trainer Ollie Figgins shipped him to Woodbine for his synthetic debut on Nov. 22. Rouse the Cat finished a bang-up second in that race, the Grade 3 Kennedy Road, after forcing all the pace.

Rouse the Cat, with Chip Vanhassel to ride, will start from post 4 in the Holiday Cheer.

Other potential threats include Officer Rocket, claimed five weeks ago at Churchill Downs for $80,000 by the ever-dangerous team of owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker; Darling Mon, who enters off a three-race win streak, albeit versus lesser; Godolphin Gray, a sharp allowance winner at the Churchill fall meet; and Big Glen, a 3-year-old who has not raced in more than eight months, since winning the WEBN and Rushaway stakes at the 2008 winter-spring meet.