DAVID O’MEARA’S yard dominates the market in the Ayr Gold Cup with one of his hopefuls the subject of major support during the last few days.
O’Meara currently has three horses in the top four, but his most backed horse this week has been GULLIVER, who has shortened from 33/1 to 12’s after the Upper Helmsley-based trainer confirmed the five-year-old would be lining up tomorrow (Saturday).
In a race packed with previous winners and in-form runners, punters are gambling on GULLIVER getting a clearer run than he did at the Curragh on Sunday to give his trainer a second Ayr success in five years.
A strong showing in Ireland, along with the trainer’s comments, have prompted activity from punters with over 30 per cent of the money in the last few days going his way.
The five-year-old sparked interest when finishing third to BUFFER ZONE at the Curragh less than a week ago. Out of the picture for much of the race, he showed an impressive turn of foot to finish a couple of lengths behind the winner.
BUFFER ZONE is the current 8/1 favourite with Carrigill’s, but a 5lb penalty could make all the difference. As a result, the double carpet about GULLIVER has quickly disappeared, with punters continuing to side with O’Meara’s charge.
Stablemate SUMMERGHAND is second favourite and readily available at 10s with Carrigill’s, and was last seen finishing second to the recently withdrawn Dakota Gold at Ripon.
Another Irish raider is Johnny Murtagh’s URBAN BEAT, who will relish ground anything softer than good. He may be better over 5f but was a solid third in a Listed race at Tipperary last time and is likely to be on the premises.
Classic-winning Middleham trainer Karl Burke has won the Ayr Gold Cup with Daring Destiny and Always Alight and can land one of the consolation contests with SHALLOW HAL.
He won the nursery at this meeting 12 months and is fresh after a lay-off during which he was gelded. He’s more likely to get in the Bronze Cup rather than the Silver and a market check is recommended.
DAKOTA GOLD’S gilt-edged summer can turn into a winning autumn in the opening Group 3 at Newbury tomorrow (Saturday).
Michael Dods’s gelding proved he was up to this standard at York last time out when making all to clinch his third successive handicap, but Julie Camacho’s JUDICIAL is expected to run a big race on the back of a success at Beverley last month.
David Simcock has won three of the last four runnings of the 2.20 including 2017 winner DESERT ENCOUNTER, who goes again this year and is strongly fancied.
Carrigill’s nap: (money back as a free bet if finishes outside top 4): URBAN BEAT, Saturday, Ayr, 3.50.
Augur’s best bet: DESERT ENCOUNTER, Saturday, Newbury, 2.20.