Sweet Scottish Success On The Cards For Abbey
Ayr Gold Cup
Sprint handicap enthusiasts will be licking their lips ahead of Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup (3.45), which has proven a lively betting heat through the week.
3yo To Defy History?
The market for this 28-runner sprint has already seen plenty of action, but has finally settled upon a 7/1 favourite in the shape of Don’t Touch. Richard Fahey’s improver comes into this protecting an unbeaten four-race record, and shot to prominence for this race when landing the valuable Great St Wilfrid sprint handicap at Ripon last month (6f, soft).
Strong at the finish that day, this 3yo has been raised a fair 5lb for Saturday, and he’ll enjoy any cut in the ground. He’ll need to be very good if winning, though, as the last 3yo winner was back in 2002 – 29 have been beaten since.
Ayr Gold Cup Trends
Of the last 10 winners…
10 returned 20/1 or shorter – those bigger were 0-138
10 were 4-6yo’s
9 were officially rated 97-105
9 were drawn in stalls 6-22
9 ran during the last 11-60 days
K Ryan won it three times, D Nicholls twice
Jack’s Back For Another Crack
The above stats show those near the head of the ratings may be vulnerable to something better handicapped, which may count against the 6yo, Jack Dexter (12/1). Winner of the Ayr Bronze Cup three years ago, he was third in this race a year later from a rating of 110, but managed only eighth from the same mark 12 months ago. Saturday’s 2lb lower mark will give him place claims once more.
One place behind Jack Dexter in this last year was David O’Meara’s 4yo, Highland Acclaim, who shaped all year as if one of these big handicaps was in him. His eyecatching fifth in last week’s Portland (5.5f, good) has seen money arrive for Saturday, especially as O’Meara won this last year with Louis The Pouis.
Highland Primed Once More
Louis The Pouis will be absent at the weekend, but the 2013 winner, Highland Colori (25/1) comes back for another crack off a 1lb lower mark. He has been campaigned over further this season, just as he was before landing this two years ago, and cannot be written off.
Highland Colori will also handle any cut in the ground, though Tanzeel (12/1) may need the ground to dry out if showing his best. That was certainly the case when Charles Hills’ 4yo won a valuable sprint at York in the summer (6f, good to firm), prior to flopping in the mud last time.
Steps Goes For Gold
Not as dependant on the ground is the Stewards’ Cup consolation winner, Golden Steps, who has been kept fresh since winning at Goodwood 49 days ago (6f, good to firm). He has form in the mud, and could be involved despite a 7lb higher mark.
Another last time out winner is Buckstay (14/1), who has been dropped in trip down the years, from 1m4f to 7f this season – a trip he won over last time (good to firm). Whether another step back to 6f will suit on his sprint debut remains to be seen, but he is an improver who handles soft ground – comments that also apply to Majestic Moon, winner of a valuable 7f handicap at Ascot a fortnight ago.
A cracking renewal in store, and one that Kevin Ryan should be respected having won it three times during the last 10 years.
His improving 4yo, Lexington Abbey (20/1) sneaks in at the bottom of the handicap and has Pat Smullen in the saddle.
*Prices correct at time of publication