It doesn’t come much harder than a 27 runner 6f handicap.
So how about three 27 runner handicaps in the space of two days?
I probably wouldn’t be doing my job if I were to turn down the opportunity to try and decipher the Ayr Bronze, Silver and Gold Cups – three of the toughest handicaps in the flat racing calendar.
The draw could play a huge role in the outcome of all three races and we will have a much better idea of draw bias by Saturday but for now we will start with the Bronze Cup on Friday.
The Bronze Cup was first run in 2009 so we have no real trends to go on and I will look to two trainers who do particularly well with their sprint handicappers at this meeting.
First up is Richard Fahey and he saddles Gatepost and Polski Max. The former is hard to win with but I like the fact he is running well and is as equally effective over 7f as he is over 6f.
If they go hell for leather then stamina as well as speed could come into play and Gatepost may well be there at the finish passing beaten horses.
Polski Max is very well handicapped and was once rated as high as 97 back in May last year. He races here off 79 and looked to be returning to form with a close up ¾ length 4th at Ripon last time out.
Dandy Nicholls is the “sprint king” and he has Bajan Bear, Fitz Flyer, Galvanize and Layla’s Hero in the line-up.
Bajan Bear is the choice of stable jockey Adrian Nicholls and will go close if bouncing back from a rare poor effort last time.
Layla’s Hero is admirably consistent and is 3lb well in under a penalty. He has not finished outside the three in his last 5 outings. These two are probably the pick of his quartet although it would be no great shock were any one of his runners to win this.
At the prices I will plump for the Fahey pair:
Ayr Bronze Cup 2.40pm – Gatespost @16/1 e/w & Polski Max @12/1 e/w (5 places)
Telmeyd is a worthy favourite in the Silver Cup on Saturday but at a best priced 7/1 I feel obliged to take him on.
Bogart for Kevin Ryan should go close if maintaining his current upward curve.
That is a big “if” but at 14/1 I am happy to back him each-way.
A winner of the 2yo Trophy at Redcar in 2011, he was once rated as high as 110 as a 3yo. He last won off a mark of 97 in August 2013 and put in his best effort since then when second to smart prospect Muthmir in the Portland last week.
He races off the same mark here (93) and a reproduction of that effort should see him go close from his (potentially) nice draw in stall 25.
If you ran this race 20 times you would probably get 20 different winners so I will stick with Bogart as my sole selection:
Ayr Silver Cup Saturday 2.40pm – Bogart @14/1 (e/w, 5 places)
Kevin Ryan has won the Ayr Gold Cup 3 times in the last 7 years, including back to back wins in 2011 and 2012. He runs York Glory, Blaine, Hamza and 2012 winner Captain Ramius.
Of the quartet it is the talented, but quirky, Blaine who makes most appeal. He has rediscovered his form this season with 2 wins in-between unseating his rider and finishing almost plumb last in the Steward’s Cup.
Kevin Ryan was quoted as saying he is in great form and will love the predicted fast ground.
The trends point towards a horse aged 4yo to 5yo, rated between 97 – 100, had at least 6 runs in the season and who has form over further than 6f.
One who ticks quite a few of those boxes is Go Far who was an unlucky 6th in the Portland and was doing his best work at the end. I will take these two against the field:
Ayr Gold Cup Saturday 3.50pm – Blaine @16/1 and Go Far @25/1 (e/w, 5 places)