BARYSHNIKOV (3.50) was building the reputation of being a ‘thinker’ before getting his head in front at Chester and he can build on that success at Ayr.
David Barron’s gelding had previously lost out in photos to Highwaygrey at Pontefract and Victory Chime at Windsor, but both those horses have won again since to boost that form. Sucellus scraped home at Sandown for John Gosden at this time last season and is slipping down the ratings for Roger Fell. Sucellus ran well at York when third to Mr Carpenter and rates a threat.
BLACK FRIDAY (12.30) is interesting moving up to a mile in the apprentices’ handicap for local handler Mike Smith. The five-year-old lost little in defeat when trying to concede 13lb to in-form Cassy O over seven furlongs 12 days ago and Black Friday had the speed to beat Mr Wagyu here over six furlongs. Megan Nicholls takes the ride. Cruyff Turn returned from a break to land a similar event at Redcar a fortnight ago and still appears well treated.
The Class 6 handicap over seven furlongs has been divided and ONLY ALONE (2.05) takes a drop in class after her sixth to course specialist Mr Orange at Pontefract. The ability to stay this extra furlong must be taken on trust but she has been finishing off her races quite stoutly. Equidae is in great heart following his course and distance victory here in August, and another success at Southwell.
DARK HEART (4.25) is a bit risky but is a significant class-dropper in the 1m 7f handicap. Mark Johnston’s three-year-old, a Newcastle winner in March, was pitched into the Lingfield Derby Trial but trailed home last to English King. After a second spot at Ripon, Dark Heart again bit off much more than he could chew at Haydock, finishing seventh to Favorite Moon and classy stable companion Subjectivist. Dark Heart is potentially well treated off a 3lb lower mark.
Top weight Clearance had Billy No Mates three lengths adrift when winning at Musselburgh in early August and is 4lb better off. Billy No Mates has since run into a form, twice winning at Haydock on soft ground, and should go well under his latest 5lb penalty. Beechwood Jude didn’t appear to get home over 2m 1f here at the Western meeting when fourth to Mondain and this is a tad easier.