The Ayr Gold Cup and its brethren, the Silver and Bronze Cups, are the feature races this coming weekend from a betting point of view.
With a maximum field of 25 runners for the main event tomorrow (Saturday), many punters will be trying to second-guess the effect of the draw and many may follow the line that high numbers have the edge in big-field sprints down Ayr’s straight five- and six-furlong track.
However, two of the last five Ayr Gold Cup winners have been drawn in stall 19. The other three were in eight, including Brando, who put up one of the great weight-carrying performances to win decisively two years ago. And no one is suggesting that runners drawn outside these two stalls might as well stay at home.
So, it is all far more complex than “high or low”, and any actual advantage may become evident only when the race has reached halfway, and it is all too late.
The location of the pace, though, is another factor and both MAJOR JUMBO and HEY JONESY like to bounce out, with the latter matching strides with Harry Angel through the first four furlongs of the Haydock Sprint Cup.
The consistent Major Jumbo will be looking to provide the North with a winner having placed in three valuable handicaps already this season including the Wokingham at Royal Ascot (6f, good-to-firm) in June.
Subsequently placed over 5f at that venue and over this 6f trip in Listed company early last month he has run well on soft ground in the past, and the pair give trainer Kevin Ryan a good chance of his fifth win in this race.
The Hambleton handler also has GLASS SLIPPERS in the preceding Firth of Clyde Stakes, and although she has no form on soft ground the fact that this race has been her long-term target suggests she will handle the ground just as easily as her sire Dream Ahead did.
The Fozzy Stack-trained SON OF REST was catapulted to the head of the market following his good second to Havana Grey in the newly upgraded Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at The Curragh on good-to-yielding going last weekend.
Given that the son of Pivotal is due to go up 10lb for his Curragh second connections hand has perhaps been forced somewhat given the size of the prize on offer, but the colt is versatile regards going and at a best priced 8/1 looks likely to take a lot of beating in Saturday’s feature.
G FORCE has shown his best recent form with plenty of give in the ground including when winning a 6f six runner handicap impressively by over five lengths at Naas back in April and looks a good each-way punt at 25/1.
But the best value for me is JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE, who has been supported by connections in the ante-post market at 20s. Declan Carroll’s four-year-old won his side in the Wokingham and just got touched off by Gifted Master in the Stewards’ Cup.
Soft ground is a concern, but he has winning form on good to soft. He’s very much at home in a big field, and if drawn favourably, looks way overpriced to make the frame.
There’s also a good card at Newbury, where Julie Camacho’s JUDICIAL can score in the 3.30, while David Simcock’s DESERT ENCOUNTER is expected to go close to repeating last year’s win in the 2.20. SERGEI PROKOFLEV is looking restore his reputation in the Group 2 contest at 2.55 but don’t be surprised if Middleham trainer Karl Burke continues his purple patch with TRUE MASON.
CARRIGILL’S NAP: (Stake returned as a free bet if selection does not finish in the top 4): FLYING PURSUIT, Saturday, Ayr, 3.50.
AUGUR’S BEST BET: JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE (e/w) Saturday, Ayr, 3.50.