Our racing expert has marked your card for Thursday's action.
While the south has largely been baking under a heatwave, the west coast of Scotland has seen plenty of the wet stuff and the Ayr Western Meeting is set to get under way on soft ground.
That won’t bother TADAANY one bit and David O’Meara’s charge is taken to land the 1m handicap and take his course record to 2-3. The ground was riding soft when he won over track and trip in July off just 5lb lower and he’s run creditably in a couple of runs since, including when a quarter-length runner-up at Redcar last time.
A decent performer when trained in Ireland, where he was rated higher than his current 79, he has taken a while to find his form for his new stable. But O’Meara has clearly got him running now and he can make the most of the weight he receives from all bar two of his rivals.
Keith Dalgleish is a trainer on the up and he struck on this day 12 months ago with Maleficent Queen, who is attempting to repeat the trick in the Listed Doonside Cup over 1m2f. She has been freshened up since disappointing at Royal Ascot in June and should go well with the ground coming right for her, but she has a bit to find on the ratings with a few of these and may have to settle for a place.
Of her rivals, Almodovar sets a clear form standard on his third in the Hardwicke Stakes before failing to land a blow behind Postponed in the King George. He will appreciate this ease in grade but the drop back in trip is another matter and Sir Michael Stoute’s ABDON is preferred. His latest success came in handicap company at Haydock but, with just four starts under his belt, he’s open to further improvement and especially on this surface, given that his maiden win and subsequent second to Eclipse winner Hawkbill came on soft ground. He’s Frankie Dettori’s only ride this afternoon.
Keith Dalgleish is most unlikely to leave this meeting empty-handed and his FALCON’S FIRE looks one of his best chances of the week in the 1m5f handicap. The three-year-old has really upped his game of late, winning on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle before following up at Musselburgh off an 8lb higher mark. He’s likely to go up by a similar margin when reassessed so he looks well treated under a 6lb penalty, and there are no worries over the ground as he won on soft at Hamilton in July.
The booking of Philip Makin, who has a healthy 18% strike rate on the stable runners with all his rides yielding a whopping £1 level stakes profit of £58.81, clinches the bet.
The closing 5f handicap looks wide open to say the least but that ensures we get a good price on my idea of the winner, the Jim Goldie-trained STAR CRACKER. An easy winner over track and trip in July on soft ground and off just a 4lb lower mark, he has run well on his two subsequent starts and might have won again had he enjoyed a bit more luck. He ran into trouble when finishing third on his next start at Hamilton and was forced to race wider than ideal when fifth at Thirsk last time.
Still nicely treated and proven in the conditions, he should make a bold bid under highly promising apprentice Clifford Lee, who is excellent value for his 7lb claim and has booted home four winners already this month. From stall ten (of 20) he will have the choice over which side of the track to race on, depending on any bias.