Our racing expert has a couple of fancies for day one of the Western Meeting.
The Ayr Western meeting gets underway with an eight-race card staged on ground that is going to be testing – they are calling it ‘soft, heavy in places’ at the time of writing.
Clearly you need a horse who is going to act in such conditions and one horse who ticks that particular box in the Listed Doonside Cup is Charlie Fellowes’ ESCALATOR. A winner twice on ‘good to firm’ earlier this season before disappointing on his hat-trick bid at Ascot (not right according to his trainer), he took his form to another level when running out an easy winner of a class 2 handicap at Goodwood – run over today’s trip of 1m2f on soft ground – on his most recent outing.
This is tougher of course and he does have a fair bit to find on the ratings with some of these, with the top-rated runner Air Pilot having 17lb in hand. However, he is clearly an improving three-year-old (getting weight from his elders) and Fellowes, who is travelling up from his Suffolk base with just one horse, reports him to have ‘worked nicely’ in preparation for this and is hoping he can pick up the 3lb penalty for winning which would allow him to get into his end-of-season target, the Cambridgeshire.
He’s a 25/1 chance for that race with bet365 but I’m more interested in the same firm’s 9/1 quote for Thursday’s contest, which is big enough for an each-way bet.
The rest of the card looks tricky to say the least but one horse I can’t let go unbacked to small stakes is Tim Easterby’s SILVERY MOON, who looks capable of landing the 1m handicap on the soft ground he loves despite his advancing years.
Now an 11-year-old, he has largely been disappointing this year and finished nearer to last than first at Thirsk 12 days ago. However, that was a better race than this and the 1m4f trip would have stretched his stamina to the limit.
Back over a more suitable mile and having been dropped a further 4lb since, meaning he’s 9lb lower than when winning at Pontefract last October and 14lb lower than when scoring over track and trip at this meeting two years ago, he may well be capable of one last hurrah before an honourable retirement.
All odds were correct at time of posting.