Our racing expert marks your card for Friday's action.
Racecourse officials are “very hopeful” that Friday’s Ayr card will go ahead following an 8.00am inspection and one trainer who will be praying it goes ahead is Keith Dalgleish as he targets the meeting.
It’s certainly been a happy hunting ground for him as since taking out a licence in 2011, he has had 70 winners there at a strike rate of nearly 14 per cent and, given the competitive nature of the racing, punters backing all his runners would have made a profit of £48.73 to £1 level-stakes.
He has declared 14 horses for this afternoon’s card and his best chance of a winner looks to be TAXMEIFYOUCAN, who is bidding for a four-timer in the 2m1f handicap. Indeed, the improving three-year-old might be unbeaten in five starts but for unseating his rider at Hexham when odds-on, having also won over hurdles at Stratford in July, and his latest victory in a class 2 £100,000 handicap at Haydock was his best yet.
He absolutely relished the heavy ground on that occasion to see off some decent rivals and while it came over 1m6f, the way he was going on at the finish suggests he will stay every yard of today’s trip. I can’t see another 5lb rise stopping him either as he’s clearly on a real upward curve and looks a very smart dual purpose horse to follow in the coming months.
Let’s take bet365’s 7/2 as Swashbuckle, his nearest rival in the betting is giving him nearly a stone and has never won on ground this soft. That can be said about most of his rivals including stablemate Frederic, although I’m expecting a bold show from that horse as this has been his aim for a good while. At 16/1 with Betfair, he might reward each-way backers.
Dalgleish sent out CLEM FANDANGO to land last year’s Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes and the now three-year-old looks to have been trained to peak again at this meeting, with her target this time round being the 51/2f Listed sprint for fillies.
It’s a competitive contest on paper with 17 set to go to post and they are headed by William Haggas’ Sainted, who has been put in as favourite at around the 3/1 mark. Given she has won four of her six starts and is perfectly at home on very soft ground, it’s hard to argue with that assessment, although she’s been going all her winning in handicaps and this is therefore a step up in class.
Not so the selection who took in a French Group 3 on her reappearance back in May, finishing a respectable fourth, before filling in the same spot at the same track last time when only a couple of lengths behind the smart Rosa Imperial. Her second in last year’s Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, with Battaash in behind, is another strong piece of form and that she hasn’t run since June is no concern as she’s been looked after with this race in mind. At 10/1 with Betfred, I think she’s terrific each-way value.