There are bigger weeks than this one in the racing calendar but I have no hesitation in naming the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival as my favourite of the Flat racing year.
Topped and tailed with meetings at Kelso and Hamilton adds the icing on the cake.
I doubt we will see the new Frankel north of the border, though we may well have seen the most recent incarnation in Pinatubo at the Curragh on Sunday.
There will be a glut of competitive handicaps full of familiar names so it is a week full of punting possibilities.
It is my ambition to retire (sometime soon!) on the back of a winning Yankee that includes the Ayr Gold Cup winner.
However, we have got to get there first and I will be taking it steadily on Tuesday at low key meets at Redcar and Chepstow.
I am becoming ever more impressed with James Tate as a trainer and feel the evidence is mounting that he is a most efficient placer of his horses.
River Cam has three seconds to her name and has plateaued in terms of form shown but Tate has put her in a race she can win here.
The dangers are the unraced horses from good northern stable and my approach will be to back her if she shortens up, which will give the lie to expectations of the Fahey and O’Meara runners.
It is arguable River Cam’s best race has been on turf and she may well be suited to a return.
I have mentioned before that my eye is drawn to Peter Fahey-trained runners, especially when he sends them to Britain - which he is doing at an increased rate recently.
He may have found a good opportunity for this four-year-old, who looked to be back on the up in two runs in June and is definitely well in being just 1lb higher than when runner-up at Downpatrick.
The absence is more of a concern than Tuesday’s opposition and once again a close eye on the late market is highly recommended.
Chris Wall provided me with a winning nap last week and has long been one of my go to trainers in the second half of the year.
Backing Wall favourites in handicaps in late summer and early autumn has never done any harm. The Fiddler came good last time and put up a strong performance for the grade in beating Agravain convincingly over course and distance.
The runner-up ran an absolute blinder last Saturday in a 0-90 and if the handicapper had seen that he would have raised The Fiddler more than 5lb.
Paul Hanagan keeps the ride and if anything the opposition is weaker than last time down in 0-60 grade. The Fiddler rates the day’s best bet for me.
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