Opinion was divided as to who has fared best in the draw for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup but, until I have seen the two sprints on Friday afternoon, I am taking the view that it is an even playing field.
Even if it does prove decisive on Friday, I still will not be 100 per cent convinced the same will apply for Saturday.
This is a seriously competitive nursery packed full of improvers, but Rapid Russo has got his mark running exclusively over five furlongs and looks to me like a horse who can improve significantly for the step up to six.
He was 20-1 at Catterick and punters may have felt he was going for a mark, but he stayed on very well after the leaders battled too hard in front of him and won in the style of a horse with a bright future.
As mentioned this week, Michael Dods is one of many trainers who target this meeting and has had runners do well in this nursery in the past.
Having won the Ayr Gold Cup last year (or half of it to be accurate!), Fozzy Stack will be hoping to claim this good prize outright with this useful and consistent filly.
She certainly deserves a win at this level as the aggregate distance she has been beaten in her last three starts does not add up to half a length, plus they all came in listed or Group Three company.
She seemed to improve last time on heavy going, but hopefully the ground was not the reason, and a repeat of her previous two efforts would be good enough to go very close here.
This looks like a plan, or certainly a good bit of placing, by John Quinn in that this stayer has shown himself back in form and retaining a good turn of foot on his recent efforts over hurdles.
He arrives here having disappointed on the Flat on his latest runs but would only need to confirm his wellbeing to outspeed these.
Alright Sunshine may well appreciate the step up in trip, but is not proven and his tendency to hang worries me at a shortish price, plus he is on a tough mark, and Arrowtown needs to come on a lot for his reappearance effort, though no doubt has been targeted at this.
Project Bluebook is too good to be getting more than a stone off those two, so looks the one to be on.
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