It is a longstanding ambition of mine to get the Ayr Silver/Gold Cup double up and in recent years I have decided to double my chances in each race and have a two-by-two each-way double, taking advantage of the extra places offered by the bookmakers.
Fingers crossed I can crack my quest on Saturday via the horses below.
2.30 Ayr: King’s Lynn and Rathbone
This QTS Ayr Silver Cup is a supposed consolation event but, more than the QTS Ayr Gold Cup, often throws up an opportunity for a future high class sprinter to pick up a good handicap as they progress through the ranks.
This year, King’s Lynn, owned by Her Majesty The Queen, is that horse and is undeniably progressive. Most judges believe his opening handicap mark very much underestimates his ability. His form claims are obvious as his Sales’ race win came from a horse who won a Listed race first time out this year, while the third has since won off 94 and been placed in a Group Three.
His reappearance effort might have been thought to be disappointing given that he was beaten at odds-on but his conqueror went on to win a Listed race from the excellent Dakota Gold.
Experience might be an issue but he has already won in a massive field. He has the champion jockey on board, too, so it is difficult to see any negatives.
I tipped Rathbone for this last year but he lost it at the start and then met trouble. I had high hopes of this horse making up into a good sprinter after his two-year-old season but it has never happened.
However, it might just be that he was struggling with his breathing as he certainly went well last time after an operation and if he has grown in confidence to relax he could yet show improvement. He certainly won’t be far away on his best form and, even though I do feel he might be running for second place at best, he is worth another chance.
3.40 Ayr: Nahaar and Staxton
Nahaar has been rested since he was a seriously well-backed favourite for the Stewards’ Cup, where he let his supporters down badly, never looking like getting involved.
However, he wouldn’t be the first progressive, potentially high-class sprinter to have a bump in the road along the way and he obviously represents a top class trainer/jockey combination in Haggas and Marquand. It could be he didn’t like Goodwood, or maybe the race came too quickly.
Marquand told us more about Nahaar after a win at Newbury this term
But if you put a line through that run and reflect on his previous mightily impressive wins then the case for him in a big sprint is plain to see.
Tim Easterby was in brilliant form on Thursday, with five winners and Duran Fentiman was on board for two of the bigger-priced winners.
The combination get a chance of a good payday with Staxton, who despite two impressive recent wins is on a lower mark than when trying to win this previously when not in the same excellent form.
At least Listed class as a two-year-old, he struggled with the handicapper for a long time but is back on a roll now and represents a yard in top form.
3.50 Newmarket: Smart Champion
An out-and-out stayer who looks to be a perfect ride for Jamie Spencer who is on for the first time.
He is a genuine contender for the Cesarewitch and can take this trial along the way. He needs a decent pace, which looks likely with the likes of the Rochester House in the field.
He has contested and run well in all the extreme distance handicaps this season and this race is much less competitive. He’s been dropped 1lb since last time and will do for me.
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