Richard Fahey’s sprinter was rated as high as 113 at one stage of his career, but a fairly slow start to the current campaign saw him fall to a mark of 98.
A third-place finish in last month’s Great St Wilfrid at Ripon suggested he was on the way back and he continued his resurgence with victory in the lucrative “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh last Sunday.
With talented apprentice Billy Garritty booked for the ride to negate his 5lb penalty, Fahey is hopeful Mr Lupton can provide him with a third victory in this weekend’s Scottish showpiece following the previous triumphs of Fonthill Road (2006) and Don’t Touch (2015).
“He hasn’t done a lot since he came back from Ireland, just a couple of light canters,” said the Musley Bank handler.
🗣 “He’s been a star, a legend. It’s amazing. He was bought at a charity function. Out of the charity came a bit of good.”@RichardFahey hoping Mr Lupton can add another chapter to his unlikely story with @officialQTS Ayr Gold Cup win👇— Racing TV (@RacingTV) September 18, 2020
“He seems in good form. It’s one of those – you just don’t know until the day, but we’re happy to run him.
“He’s been a star, a legend. It’s amazing. He was bought at a charity function. Out of the charity came a bit of good.”
Fahey also saddles outsider Gabrial The Wire, of whom he added: “He’s a bit hit and miss. A fast-run six-furlong race should suit – it’s just if he’s quick enough to lay up early on.”
Tim Easterby was relieved Staxton made the cut, having decided against running him since winning the Great St Wilfrid last month.
He said: “He’s in good order and I hope he’ll run a good race.
“We took a gamble by waiting for this race. I could have run him somewhere else under a penalty, but I spoke to the owners and we decided we’d wait for this and thankfully he’s just crept in.
“He’s drawn down the middle (15) and I hope he’s got a good chance.”
Watch all the Ayr Gold Cup winners since 2009
Seven days on from claiming Classic glory in the St Leger at Doncaster aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Galileo Chrome, jockey Tom Marquand has high hopes of landing another major prize with the William Haggas-trained Nahaarr.
The lightly-raced son of Dark Angel was a runaway winner at Newbury in July before finishing ninth when favourite for the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
“He’s a really good ride to have. I think we’ve got drawn pretty well in 13, so I’m looking forward to riding him,” said Marquand.
“He’s a horse with lots of ability. He didn’t handle Goodwood all that well in the Stewards’ Cup and I just hope this can be a bit of a bounce back from that run. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be.
“Fingers crossed things can go our way.”
The formidable combination of trainer Andrew Balding and champion jockey Oisin Murphy is represented by Stone Of Destiny, who bids to follow up his win in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last Saturday.
Balding said: “He won the Portland well and although this is a little bit further for him, he is a good horse when everything drops right – that is the key to him.
“He needs a strong gallop to aim at, which is what he will get at Ayr, but he doesn’t want the ground too soft.
“The Portland was the aim, but we decided this was worth having a go at afterwards.”
David O’Meara fires a four-pronged assault, with top-weight Gulliver joined by stable companions Arecibo, Cold Stare and Young Fire, while Kevin Ryan has three runners in Bielsa, Hey Jonesy and Major Jumbo.
Jedd O’Keeffe’s Air Raid and the David Barron-trained Another Batt also feature in what is always a fiercely competitive affair.
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