My favourite Flat meeting of the year begins on Thursday afternoon and I am gutted that I am not going to be at the Ayr Gold Cup Festival for the first time in ages.
Hopefully, the disappointment will be eased by me getting the Silver/Gold Cup double up for this column, though that is for the weekend and there are plenty of handicaps on Thursday to crack first.
2.30 Ayr: Broctune Red at a general 8-1
There are three last-time-out winners at the top end of the handicap here and all command respect from yards that do well at this meeting.
Broctune Red has gone up the handicap for running consistently well in defeat, which is not my normal vehicle for a bet but there might be a significant final piece of the jigsaw that could enable him to break his maiden here.
If you have a front-runner then you may as well have the best front-running jockey in the game on board and Joe Fanning is on for the first time here.
Trainer Gillian Boanas has been in terrific form in recent weeks but will obviously be frustrated that she has had five seconds from her past nine runners. This horse ran well over course and distance last time and has got the perfect draw for a front runner.
3.00 Ayr: Dubai Icon at a general 5-1
Saeed Bin Suroor always hits form in September and it seems this year is no exception with four of of his past five runners successful.
Given the stable form I am not at all worried about Dubai Icon making his UK reappearance after an absence - or that he is 7lb higher than winning at York 11 months ago.
He didn’t win in Meydan but probably should have, at least confirming he is an improver. He certainly looked as though he was on the up in that York win and trip and ground are ideal.
4.00 Ayr: Danielsflyer at a general 13-2
Could not have gone any closer to breaking an extended losing run last time at Doncaster. He’s on a losing run of 25 but it is difficult to question his attitude and the number of stinkers he has run is minimal.
He is back to the grade where he was narrowly beaten at Beverley two starts ago and will get the race run to suit here as a strong pace looks certain.
He’s won at this track in the past and Im not concerned about the wide draw for him. It looks a good opportunity for him to end his barren sequence.
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