WHAT’S THE STORY (3.30) can keep the feature William Hill Doonside Cup on home soil on the opening day at Ayr.
The Glasgow-owned gelding has been a good flag-bearer for Keith Dalgleish’s Carluke stable, scoring twice at York this summer, and he can take this elevation into Listed company in his stride. He has no easy task, with all his five rivals boasting chances. Richard Fahey always does well at Ayr’s three-day festival and top weight Forest Ranger is the one I fear most, especially if he can reproduce the form of his victory over Matterhorn at Chester (soft) back in May.
Favourite backers should be on good terms with themselves after the opening novice stakes, with MORISCO (1.30) a strong pick. Tom Dascombe’s juvenile was a winner at Newcastle in July before running fifth in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York last month.
SPARKLEALOT (2.00) has the edge over Parys Mountain (winner since at Chester) on Catterick form 22 days ago and can follow up in the 7f handicap. Roger Varian’s three-year-old Monsieur Noir scored at Salisbury on fast ground but was a shade disappointing when finishing fourth on handicap debut at Newmarket last month. Queens Sargent chased home Saint Equiano in this race last year on bottomless ground.
EVA MARIA (4.00) won a Novice Stakes at Thirsk on good to soft before finding Storting too hot to handle at Pontefract 15 days later. Today’s extra two furlongs will suit the Fahey-trained filly, a daughter of Sea The Stars, and she can make a successful handicap debut.
ORANGE BLOSSOM (4.30) has a sporting chance in the 5f cavalry charge. She won over the minimum trip at Kempton in March when trained by James Given and has since posted a fine second to in-form Sonje Henie at Epsom for the Fahey stable. Chookie Dunedin could outrun his fancy price wearing first-time blinkers.
Dalgleish has an obvious chance of mopping up the concluding 1m 5f handicap with recent Musselburgh scorer Iron Mike but stall 17 is off-putting. REMEMBER ROCKY (5.00) has an excellent course record and has taken well to being upped in trip by Lucy Normile. He is due to go up 2lb after splitting red-hot Gylo and Flower Power at Catterick and conditions look ideal.
Sempre Presto, fifth last year, is another that should go close for the Fahey operation. She finished last of three at Leicester nine days ago but wasn’t beaten far by two decent southern-trained sorts in Fantastic Blue and Dante’s View.
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