The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is one of the biggest betting races of the year and my two against the field are Aces (16/1 at BetVictor) and Golden Apollo (3.50) with marginal preference for the latter who is 14/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places.
The selection has only encountered soft ground once so far this season when runner up to his stablemate Flying Pursuit at York earlier in the season from a 4lbs lower mark. The 4-year-old found five-and-a-half-furlongs and good ground an insufficient test of stamina last time, but he was doing all his best work at the end and the hope is that they go a good gallop this afternoon.
I have always thought that you needed to be drawn high on fast ground and low on soft ground in this prestigious handicap and the each way recommendation is housed in stall four.
Collide (4.25) is hardly thrown in for his handicap debut but he is clearly going the right way and is taken to land his hat-trick for Hugo Palmer and Richard Kingscote who takes over in the plate this afternoon. This Frankel colt looked ready for a step up in trip when scoring at Carlisle last time over 9f when he stayed on dourly all the way to the line.
Fools And Kings (5.30) has his first start for Gordon Elliot in the finale and this 4-year-old won a Chepstow handicap for Robyn Brisland last September. He returns from a near 12-month break this afternoon and is unproven on ground this soft, but I felt he had more to offer as a three-year-old and he has obviously gone to a leading yard.
There is rain forecast at Newbury ahead of today’s racing and I am looking forward to the reappearance of Young Rascal (2.20) who beat Dee Ex Bee in the Chester Vase back in the spring before disappointing at Epsom in the Derby. His subsequent absence would suggest something was found to be amiss after the classic although it is possible that he has been waiting for the ground to ease.
The selection must carry a 3lbs penalty for his Chester win which is a concern, but if there is significant rain I would be disappointed if he didn’t go very close. Jim Crowley takes over with regular pilot James Doyle in Australia to ride Jungle Cat for Godolphin at Caulfield. Mirage Dancer is 6/4 favourite with BetVictor with the selection 4/1 and that looks a fair price although another furlong would have helped.
Stylehunter (1.45) will pick up a penalty for the Cambridgeshire next weekend if he wins the valuable Dubai Duty Free Handicap over 10f and the John Gosden 3-year-old probably needs to win to get into the race as, at the time of writing, he needs 18 to come out to get a run at Newmarket in the first leg of the autumn double.
The colt has yet to run on ground slower than good so if the rain arrived at the Berkshire track his ability to handle conditions would have to be taken on trust. The selection is 6/1 at BetVictor and is another each way selection.
Amandine (3.20 Newmarket) ran her best race yet when second at Ascot in a similar fillies’ only contest and that form was franked when the fourth horse Sheikha Reika won a listed contest at Yarmouth earlier in the week – albeit over an additional quarter of a mile. David Simcock’s filly is ridden by Jamie Spencer and good to soft ground would be ideal – any softer would be unlikely to suit this daughter of Shamardal.
Tony Martin’s Golden Spear (3.55) comes across from Ireland for the Cesarewitch Trial and I expect to see a much-improved show from the seven-year-old than was the case at Galway when last seen at the end of July. The gelding finished fifth in the 2016 Cesarewitch off the same mark and he has often flattered to deceive but I just prefer him to Coeur De Lion who finished second in this race 12 months ago from a 13lbs lower mark.
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