Our resident tipster is eyeing up a tasty Keith Dalgleish double at Ayr this afternoon.
The three-day Ayr Gold Festival gets under way this afternoon and Keith Dalgleish has double prospects.
Dalgleish has quickly established himself as the leading trainer in Scotland and he already has twice set records for the number of winners coming out from a Scottish yard on the flat – and he’s well on track to beat last year’s total of 67 with 62 currently on the board.
He looks to have a strong team assembled for this week’s meeting and he provides today’s nap in the shape of MALEFICENT QUEEN, who contests the 1m2f handicap for fillies (due off 2.25pm). The daughter of Mount Nelson showed real promise when finishing second at Hamilton on her racecourse debut back in May and she quickly went one better (by four lengths, form working out well) when returned to that track, before going in again at Carlisle – all in the space of 22 days.
She’s not been sighted since, but that’s no concern as she will have been targeted at this meeting and the fact she has been given an entry in the Group 1 Fillies & Mares Stakes run at Ascot in October tells you she is very highly regarded at home. Dalgleish is the subject of a timely Stable Tour in this week’s Weekender and this is what he has to say on the filly.
“I’ve had Thursday’s 1m2f fillies’ handicap at Ayr in mind for her for some time and she’s the horse I’m most looking forward to running at the meeting. I think she has a very strong chance and hopefully there’ll be enough give in the ground [currently good to soft] for her to get her toe in.”
The trainer has a number of other runners engaged and the one that interests me most is AZRUR, who is bidding to follow up Saturday’s success at Musselburgh in the 7f handicap (3.30pm), in which he carries a 6lb penalty. That means he runs off a mark of 69 here and that still looks generous as he has been as high as 88 and won off 82 at Newbury last August on soft ground.
A change of scenery has clearly benefited the five-year-old as he was having his first start for Dalgleish on Saturday, having been in the care of Kenny Johnson, and the trainer could well eek some more improvement. Phillip Makin, who made all on him, is back on board, and the rider has a terrific record on the stable runners with his 48 winners (from 265 rides, 18%) yielding a level-stakes profit of £37.03 since the start of the 2014 season.
A double on the Dalgleish-trained pair pays 12/1 with bet365.