Good morning all,
It's been a fun week for me, having been to Yarmouth races with a few friends a couple of times this week and also a visit to the dogs for the East Anglian Derby on Wednesday night. I'll tell you all about that next week, as I've not had time to put the piece together, so for today, let's have a look at the first of the three big-field sprint handicaps we've got to look forward to at Ayr over the next two days, the Bronze Cup.
Favourite this morning is Jim Goldie's Call Me Ginger, who comes here off the back of a good second in a similar contest at Doncaster last week. He travelled well there and finished his race off, so from the same mark has a solid chance. If you'd have asked me this time last week “is Jim Goldie in form?” the answer would have been a resounding yes, but he's been a bit quieter the last seven days, which does temper enthusiasm for him a bit, but his chance is clear enough to see.
Tim Easterby had five winners yesterday and you could see the prices on his two runners, last year's winner Music Society and the well-treated Flying Pursuit, disappear in front of your eyes with each passing winner he had. They have done well to get Music Society in here off the same mark as last year and there were definite signs he was on the way back at Ripon last time, finishing second in his stands side group and fifth overall. Flying Pursuit, given how quickly he went off at Doncaster, did well not to fall out the back of the telly, and if they can harness his speed a little here, he could last out a bit longer. It's interesting his best run this year came over this C&D back in July, particularly as he raced alone that day (and finished in front of Call Me Ginger, it must be said) and from what might be a good draw in stall 24, he'd be my pick of the pair. But the prices have long gone, and I'll only back him if he drifts back a bit.
In front of both Music Society and Call Me Ginger that day was John Kirkup, who loves this track and the return of the blinkers today is no bad thing either. But drying ground is no help to him, and I do wonder whether the handicapper now has a hold of him – you've got to go back a few seasons to find a time where he was good enough to win off a mark of 80+. He'll run his usual solid race but I think others might be better handicapped.
As ever in this races, I could go on and make cases for two thirds of the field but at present, the two I'm backing are Melody King and Paddy Power. The case for the former is simple enough – the latter less so.
Melody King has run two solid races in his two visits to Ayr, both over 7f, and I think 6f in a fast-run race could suit him well. Cheekpieces go on, and he comes here after an effort at Pontefract that you can mark up a bit as he was drawn out in stall 12. He finished off his race well for fourth, and the form is working out well – the winner, Breath Of Air was beaten half a length in a competitive race at Kempton on his next start, and the second and third (Benefit Street/Many A Star) met at Yarmouth earlier in the week. They again finished 1-2 to give the form a solid look. This is only his eighth start too, so there ought to be a bit more to come.
I'm going to take a swing at rank outsider Paddy Power as well. The positives are hard to find – he's in no great form this year, and his yard are having a tough time finding winners (6-113 last two weeks) but there was just enough in his Haydock run two starts back to suggest he's not completely gone at the game yet, and he did finish a close sixth from 7lb higher in this last year. Basically I think he needs 6f where they go off so quickly the pace collapses, and there is a scenario here where that could happen. He's got plenty of pace around him to drag him into this, not least the speedy Queen Of Kalahari next door in stall 17, and I can't resist a couple of quid at 40s, with six places on offer.
Back tomorrow where we'll attempt to buy our own private islands with a crack at the Silver/Gold double.
Today's selection – Melody King 3.55 Ayr
Good luck with all your bets today,