RacecardThere is a prize of over £124,000 on offer to the winner of this race, not only Ayr’s biggest race of the Flat season but that of the whole of Scotland too.
The soft underfoot conditions this year add a different dimension to the race, some horses being backed purely on their ability to handle cut in the ground during the week while a lot has been made of the draw too.
This is a biggie, so we have seven against the field here in what is an incredibly tough handicap to solve:
It’s hard to believe this fellow is only five as it feels like he’s been around forever and having won another valuable six-furlong prize at York this summer he may even have his best days ahead of him, especially on this sort of ground.
His new handicap mark of 100 doesn’t exactly scream ‘well-in’, however in the conditions he is certainly not out of this for Tim Easterby and Rachel Richardson.
Probably one of the top three or four trainers outside of Newmarket, Michael Dods knows his potatoes and will have this gelding primed for the assault.
His seven furlong win on soft ground on a flat track at York makes him stand out a little here as this may ride much like a 7f race and having only gone up 2lbs in the handicap he has been given every chance by the handicapper.
One of a bunch of Tim Easterby runners with a chance, this chap is a young sprinter with plenty more left to offer us and so the fact that he’s shown his best form to date on rain-softened ground means he simply must be in there with a great winning possibility.
He stays seven furlongs well enough and found the extended five too sharp last time and so may finally have ideal conditions. David Allan rides.
Only six but with plenty of miles on the clock, we think we pretty much know what we can expect from Growl but that expectation makes him one of the likelier types in this race.
He hasn’t been at his best this season despite being placed almost every time, but the return of very soft ground could just get the best out of him, whatever that is these days, and he could find himself now very well handicapped off a mark some 15lbs lower than his last winning rating.
The big gamble this week from 40/1 down to as low as 14/1 based on the going, however trainer Roger Fell is insistent that the cash is not his and he would prefer an extra furlong. No forlorn hope, anyway.
Son Of Rest
Another big gamble all the way into favouritism on Friday is this Irish trained Pivotal colt who thus far has been fairly lightly raced.
There is undoubtedly more improvement to come from him and he loves this sort of ground, however whether he will indeed show his best in the hustle and bustle of this particular big field handicap remains to be seen though we cannot doubt his place chances.
Kevin Ryan is more than capable of readying one for a race of this nature and in Tommy Taylor he could have the ideal horse.
Only a four-year-old, he hasn’t reached a peak yet and having run his best races either over 7f or on soft ground it could be only now that we see him with an ideal canvas on which to paint his masterpiece. It’s easy to envisage a career best in this race and off a mark of 97 that would see him go very close indeed under Tom Eaves.
It’s hard to know what to make of the draw in these conditions and there will be pace all over the track, so without allowing those elements to prejudice us too much we may stick with the potential improvement coming from TOMMY TAYLOR who looks over-priced after a fine placed effort on faster ground at Ascot last time.
Joining him on the near side may be Growl who is gradually picking up his form this season and could prove well-handicapped under former champ Paul Hanagan, while the big gamble Son Of Rest and Golden Apollo also make plenty of appeal.