Our racing expert is having a couple of stabs at the Ayr Gold Cup.
Tackling the 6f Ayr Gold Cup without first having watched Friday’s Bronze Cup is fraught with danger as the latter race will provide an invaluable clue over the draw. However, the impression after watching the 5f handicap on Thursday was that low is the place to be, with the first five home all exiting from single-figure stalls and those who raced on the stands’ side had next to no chance. Richard Fahey, who is responsible for the current favourite Growl must think so too as he is sounding perfectly happy with stall six for his horse, and we also have last year’s race to back up that assumption as the first four home were boxed nine or lower.
So, on that premise, I’m going with Bryan Smart’s hat-trick seeking NAMEITWHATYOULIKE, who has been handed stall four and, according to his in-form trainer, will attempt to blast out and make all. He may well do just that as he’s clearly improving fast, having landed a Listed sprint at York last time after previously making every yard of the running in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, which has provided three of the last five winners.
He does have a 5lb penalty to overcome and the record of penalised runners in this race is a concern – only two horses have defied penalties since 2007. But connections have pulled off a mini coup by securing the services of promising apprentice Adam McNamara (regular partner Connor Beasley is needed at Newbury) and his 5lb claim effectively wipes out the penalty. His mount goes on soft ground and stays further – he’s won over an extended mile – so he’s unlikely to empty close home and we needn’t be concerned about trouble in running given riding plans.
At 14/1 with Paddy Power, who are paying five places, I’m more than happy to entrust him with my money – I suggest you join me.
The aforementioned Growl is a big danger having being kept for fresh for this after finishing an excellent fourth in the Stewards’ Cup last time from an unfavourable high draw. That said, he’s racing off a 9lb higher mark than for his last win and the record of favourites is also off-putting, with last year’s winner and stablemate Don’t Touch the first successful market leader since Coastal Bluff in 1996.
In which case, I’d rather ‘save’ on JACK DEXTER at bet365’s 16/1. Jim Goldie’s seven-year-old has been a regular in this race since winning the Bronze version in 2012, doing best when third the following year on good to soft ground, and he looked as good as ever when finishing fourth in a big-field 5f handicap at Ascot on his penultimate start. Now much lower in the weights than in his three previous attempts and with the ground to suit, he should make a bold bid from stall five under Fran Berry.