GULLIVER (3.50) has the ground turning in his favour and should make a bold bid to beat 24 rivals in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
David O’Meara sent Gulliver on his travels to Ireland last weekend and his gelding ran well in defeat, not beaten far by today’s favourite Buffer Zone. Gulliver can take advantage of a 5lb swing and the track was riding quick at York when he slammed a big field before his fine sixth in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood. Low numbers dominated the sprints yesterday, so stall nine looks a favourable draw on paper.
Major Jumbo has been dining at the top table all season and should have a leading role to play, although his trainer is worried by the drying ground.
The grey wasn’t disgraced behind Hello Youmzain (seventh) in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock a fortnight ago and the five-year-old had bolted up at Chester on his previous outing. Kevin Ryan is seeking his fifth big-race victory (Brando, Captain Ramius, Our Jonathan and Advanced) but stall 20 is questionable for Major Jumbo, drawn alongside Buffer Zone.
Summerghand’s fourth to Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood gives him a clear chance and O’Meara also saddles last week’s Portland Handicap fourth Arecibo, a sprinter well treated racing off his old handicap mark.
The Silver Cup may give a clue to the effect of the draw with CITRON MAJOR (2.40) drawn fairly high in stall 17 for Nigel Tinkler. He finished fourth to the Owen Burrows-trained Enjazaat at Doncaster last Friday and an earlier third to Dakota Gold puts Citron Major in the mix, especially with some firms offering six places.
Likely favourite Alkaraama is a most consistent three-year-old trained by Sir Michael Stoute racing in the Hamdan Al Maktoum silks and he could still be ahead of the handicapper as he is due to go up 2lb. Show Stealer’s third in last week’s Portland Handicap puts her very much in the frame for Rae Guest.
KYNREN (2.00) consistently runs out of his skin without winning but David Barron has found him his best opportunity for some time in this mile handicap. His third to What’s The Story and Vale Of Kent at York’s Ebor fixture was yet another fine effort and although Kynren enjoys some cut underfoot, he finished a respectable sixth in last year’s Cambridgeshire on fast ground.
LAMBETH WALK (3.15) gets the nod over Orlaith in the Firth Of Clyde Stakes. Archie Watson’s filly chased home Godolphin’s smart Platinum Star at Ripon and ran with credit when fourth to speedy Raffle Prize in a Group 2 at Newmarket. Orlaith beat Al Raya in a Listed contest at Newbury last month and would be a popular winner for Carrutherstown trainer Iain Jardine.
NICHOLAS T (4.25) would bring the house down if able to notch his fourth course victory of the season. Jim Goldie has placed him brilliantly this summer and last week’s third to Davydenko at Donny suggests Nicholas T continues in great heart. Certain Lad finished second in that race but the proven course record of Nicholas T may give the local horse a vital edge. Mark Johnston’s The Trader has been running well in tough handicaps and likes to set off in front. The three-year-old may be hard to peg back, but equally he could set up the race for a closer like Nicholas T..
At Newbury, FOREST OF DEAN (3.30) stands out in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap. John Gosden’s colt has won three of his last four races and the manner of his most recent victory in the Sky Bet Handicap at York marks him down as an improving three-year-old. Forest of Dean was installed ante-post favourite for next weekend’s Cambridgeshire but runs here instead.
DESERT ENCOUNTER (2.20), a hold-up performer who can be a bit tricky at times, has benefited from two Jamie Spencer master-classes to score at Goodwood and Windsor, latterly lowering the colours of useful Matterhorn. Main rival Pondus is more of a soft-ground horse, having chased home Addeybb at Haydock (heavy) and Fox Chairman at Newbury (soft).
PIERRE LAPIN (2.55) is likely to go off favourite for the Mill Reef Stakes, despite needing to overcome a lengthy absence. Roger Varian’s colt hasn’t be seen since making an impressive winning debut at Haydock (good to firm) in May but holds Group 1 entries in the Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Mystery Power won his first two starts for Richard Hannon before getting a rear view of brilliant Pinatubo at Goodwood.
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