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Knight was touched off at Sandown by Chindit who has beaten yet another of my fancies over the last couple of weeks. Both of the front two travelled the best into the race and Chindit put in a much better performance than I was expecting on soft ground which hasn't been his ideal surface in the past.
Ayr 3:00 – Auld Toon Loon 13/2 (1pt EW Bet365)
Ayr is going to be very wet on Thursday for the start of the Gold Cup meeting, and that will mean the ground will be soft and very testing. The horse I think will relish those conditions is Auld Toon Loon.
David O'Meara's lightly raced 4yo has been progressive this year, especially on soft ground. He has won on good ground, but that was off a much lower mark, so I think his class pulled him through that day, there's no doubt that he is best on a testing surface, which he will get today up at Ayr. He was poor last time out, and I'm sure plenty of punters would've expected much better after his 2nd at Haydock the time before, but it was on good ground last time out and it was on heavy the time before at Haydock.
I think this race will be run to suit for Auld Toon Loon. You have quite a few horses in this race who likes to push the pace or be prominent, so this won't be a slowly run race. The likely scenario of a decent run race on testing ground is what brings Auld Toon Loon into this, he stays further, so the drop back to 10f isn't a concern as it will be stamina testing and knowing he handles conditions better than any horse in the race and he stays well, I think he has a cracking chance of winning.
Pontefract 3:45 – Unequal Love 2/1 (1pt Bet365)
I don't think this Class 2 Fillies race is all that strong, and the one which instantly stood out was Unequal Love.
She was showing big signs of progression before running a bad race at York, which was too bad to be true. She either found the ground too quick for her at York, or something was amiss, as the 5lb rise in the weights she had for winning in good style at Haydock is highly unlikely to be the issue. The form of the Haydock race has worked out nicely, and it's hardly a surprise because the Ralph Beckett horse looked very good in her previous runs, especially at Catterick on slow ground, and she went to Germany and won a Listed race, producing an RPR in the low 100s.
Unequal Love has proven herself on soft ground when winning at Ripon, the form isn't anything to shout and rave about, but she won it quite nicely in the end, Adam Farragher had to keep her concentration, but she was hardly asked for an effort to win. She also looked like she might need further, with her best part of the race coming in the final furlong, so it wasn't a surprise to see her win nicely at Haydock over 7f. Her added stamina will be a bonus in this race if the ground gets very testing, as it's already a stiff uphill track and when you combine that with soft ground, you're going to need a strong stayer at the trip.
Yarmouth 3:55 – Kuwait City 11/1 (0.5pt EW)
Soft ground isn't going to suit many in this race, with arguably only three are going to be able to handle the conditions well. Tolstoy liked soft ground at the start of his racing career, but he is very hit and miss and you're a braver man than me if you're backing him away from Brighton at the moment. Hydration has recently won on soft ground, but I don't rate his form at all, which leaves me with Kuwait City, who is a previous selection for Mr Fix It's thread, and I put him up at the start of this season when he was running at Goodwood on soft ground, and he let me down. However, he then went on to win the next time at York at odds of 28/1 on fast ground.
Though he ran poorly when I previously stuck him up on heavy ground, I think he is worth another chance on testing ground. He seemed to relish it as a juvenile, winning on his second start on soft ground at Yarmouth but over 5f. He has run some good races in defeat this year and I think that it's time to step him up to 6f as over 5f he is often held up and does his best running late into the race. Yarmouth isn't a demanding track, so it's not going to put a huge emphasis on the added stamina required and off a dangerous handicap mark of 79, which was his last winning mark I think he has all the tools to go very well.
Ayr - 3:00 pm
13/2 @ Bet365
Pontefract - 3:45 pm
2/1 @ Bet365
Yarmouth - 3:55 pm