Our resident trio fancies a trio of runners at Ayr.
There’s nothing grabbing my attention over jumps, so it’s the flat meeting at Ayr that provides today’s bets.
I’ll start with the caveat that I could easily have kept my wallet closed today and waited for the better stuff later in the week, but the 11/4 on EDGAR BALTHAZAR for the 7f handicap is just big enough to tempt me. Keith Dalgleish’s gelding has been a model of consistency this season albeit over shorter, but he certainly wasn’t beaten for stamina when second at Catterick last time and he may be capable of stepping up on that on today’s better ground.
His trainer said: “He’s been knocking on the door. He’s been a bit unlucky as he’s got his head in front only once but has been creeping up the weights for finishing second a lot. We’ve worked out how to ride him; he takes a bit of stoking, but if we can get him rolling he’d have a fair chance. He seemed to stay seven furlongs well last time and I hope the nice long straight at Ayr will do the trick.”
The 1m7f handicap (2.40pm) looks a modest contest and LAKE SHORE DRIVE wouldn’t have to improve much on his handicap debut over a more suitable distance to be called the winner. The three-year-old has shown some ability in three starts in Ireland, including when finishing third at the Galway Festival (1m4f), and he gives the impression he’s crying out for a step up to to this sort of trip.
His opening handicap mark of 72 is no gift, but he’s surely got more improvement in him given he’s lightly-raced and his shrewd trainer is 3-5 with his British raiders this year. The booking of Daniel Tudhope, who is 1-1 on the stable runners, suggests he means business today and any market support would be highly significant.
The 6f handicap looks the most competitive race of the day and it may go the way of veteran sprinter ANCIENT CROSS. The 11-year-old has not scored since landing the Silver Cup here two years ago, but he’s tumbled down the weights as a result and gave a sign that he was about to take advantage when finishing fifth in a better handicap than this at Doncaster last time, when trying a new headgear combination. That’s reapplied today and providing it works for a second time he surely must go close to ending his lean spell.
All odds were correct at time of posting.