Leith looks the Ayr value
Ben Coley picks out a best bet, a longshot, a special and a horse in focus to consider ahead of today's action.
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Leith Walk looks overpriced to win the feature race on Ayr's card for Donald Whillans and son Callum.
He looked set to take a hand in the finish before falling at Kelso last time, showing big improvement from his seasonal return, and along with a nose defeat back in May that confirms my suspicion that he's up to winning off this mark of 110.
Crucially, those efforts came over a shorter trip and he should improve for a step up to two and a half miles on ground he loves. Over two miles and six here in the spring, Leith Walk romped to a 25-length victory under similar conditions and this is the first time he's raced over this sort of trip since.
Likely favourite Pas Trop Tard is unexposed and improving but he has to prove that he can stay the trip under these conditions, and I'm not sure how much more scope he has off this sort of handicap mark anyway.
Seven Is Lucky tends to wait until winter is gone before winning, Purcell's Bridge is now 17lb higher than when scoring at Wetherby and the rest have plenty to prove, so with conditions ideal Leith Walk rates a fine bet.
The final race at Wolverhampton is an extremely modest affair and it could pay to take a chance with the lightly-raced Minty Jones.
This four-year-old hasn't hit the frame in seven starts so far but there have been bits and pieces of promise over this distance, and it's interesting that he attracted plenty of support when last seen at Brighton.
He missed the break over six furlongs that day so I'm prepared to put a line through the run, and back up in trip with Tom Eaves booked (profitable record on yard's older horses), I can see him improving enough to be a factor.
Further encouragement is taken from the form of Michael Mullineaux, who has saddled three winners from his last six runners.
Call The Police bids to go one better than when second to the smart Hidden Cyclone in the feature race at Thurles.
Third behind Bob's Worth in last season's RSA Chase and second in another top-class contest prior to that, the Willie Mullins-trained horse should finally land a deserved Grade 2 success by beating Foildubh.
Mullins has three runners on the card and each is expected to be sent off a strong odds-on favourite.
Conditions were testing at Ayr yesterday and the track had to pass a morning inspection before today's card got the nod and there's further light rain forecast.
The temptation on testing ground is to go long on distances as the fields become well strung out but there were some terrific finishes to the four handicaps yesterday with winning distances of half a length, a short-head, two and three quarter lengths and four lengths.
The story in the weight-for-age races was different as one might have expected with winning margins of 10 lengths, five lengths and three and a half lengths.
Lucinda Russell won all three of those races and she has a strong hand in the opening maiden hurdle with No Deal but the make-up of the contest is not dissimilar to Wednesday's hurdle races.
Harry The Lemon and Hie Mossy both look capable of making this a test or even upsetting the market leader and it's reasonable to expect a similar winning margin.