Bacc to the future
Ian Brindle's horse-by-horse guide to the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.
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Had to work harder than anticipated to land the odds in the Chipchase but acts on the surface and clearly in great heart having finished fourth in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot and a staying-on sixth in the Duke Of York Stakes. No easy task off a mark of 110 though clearly still on the upgrade.
Sixth in the Silver Cup last season and the winner of a conditions stakes at Beverley in the interim. Two fair efforts over shorter at the Curragh this season though his better form has been obtained on much quicker going.
Likeable type who has been a market leader on each of his last six starts, most recently winning a Listed event at Newmarket. Sixth in Stewards' Cup and while the going may be an imponderable, he has a big chance if securing some luck in running.
Dropped a heavy hint of a revival when third in the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock earlier in the month. Arrives here 4lb lower than when successful in the Stewards' Cup back in 2011 and his stable have already been among the winners at the Western Meeting.
Has had three tries in this race previously and finished well beaten on each occasion. However, despite that awful record, he has ran well at this stage of the season in the past and if the ground became appreciably tacky, his stamina may come into play.
Far from disgraced when second in the Great St Wilfrid, and the form of her previous visit to Ripon was given a huge boost by the runner-up at Doncaster last week. Fourth in the Silver Cup last year and needs to defy a 14lb higher mark in a much hotter race.
Won the Silver Cup last year and will be 5lb better off with Jack Dexter for his defeat at Newcastle. Far from the most straightforward of individuals but his rider is only too aware of those quirks and he should be staying on well at the finish.
Heavily backed when second in the Silver Cup last year (winning on his side of the track) and has raced exclusively over seven furlongs since, winning twice and latterly landing a conditions race at Warwick on his most latest start. Stable in hot form at present and promising claimer is good value for his 5lb allowance.
A rare runner at Ayr for Marco Botti and was a solid third at Ascot against more experienced rivals on his most recent outing. Obliged against his own age group in the Coral Sprint Trophy at Newmarket in May off a mark of 100 and has won previously on heavy going as a juvenile.
Earned the right to step up in grade following his Scarborough Stakes victory in 2011 but shown little to recommend on his recent forays into handicaps. Probably should have done better than his third in a weak event at Leicester and more to do here.
Very speedy on his day and gained an overdue victory at York in August. Pedigree suggests he should be able to act upon this surface, however he is arguably a better proposition over the minimum trip nowadays.
Landed a handicap at Newmarket that has produced a couple of winners since, though largely friendless in the market following a very public flop at York. A half-brother to a winner on a softer surface, but he has shown his form on decent ground.
Duke Of Firenze
One of the leading ante-post fancies for this race last season (didn't run) and a plum ride for Cathy Gannon some 12 months later. Won the Epsom Dash under a canny Ryan Moore ride and has won over six furlongs during his juvenile campaign.
Recently purchased for no less than 135,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Sales and makes a debut for Keith Dalgleish having won a Listed race for Pia Brandt in France. Impossible to quantify what to expect and market likely to serve as the best guide on the day.
Always held in high regard by connections and justified market confidence to score convincingly in the Great St Wilfrid having looked unlucky in the Sky Bet Dash (hampered by stricken jockey when making ground). Gone up 7lb since his Ripon victory and though he is unproven on a very soft surface, he's out of a Pivotal dam so there's a very fair chance that he will be able to cope with it.
Formerly campaigned as a middle-distance performer and his current handler has attempted to reinvent him as a sprinter. While the yard have landed some noteworthy touches in sprints of this nature in the past, he doesn't strike as a particularly obvious candidate having failed to score in a dozen previous starts for them.
Won off a mark of 89 at Ascot (beating Khubala) on soft and was a fair second off today's mark at the Berkshire track earlier this month. Sent off a very heavy favourite for the Wokingham earlier in the season and any drying of the ground won't inconvenience.
Posted an impressive performance when giving weight and a beating to Tropics at Windsor in June and no mean achievement in hitting the frame in both the Wokingham and the Sky Bet Dash. Conditions likely to suit and has plenty of pace drawn around him.
Hails from a yard that are in rude form at present and has paid his way this year with victory at Navan and a third in a valuable handicap at the Curragh. Capable of running well when fresh although the handicapper might have his measure at present.
Shock winner of the Buckingham Palace Stakes and has struggled to reproduce the form since. Well beaten in the Silver Cup last year and has failed to trouble the judge in his two other visits to Ayr.
Occasional frontrunner who produced a career best when eighth in the International at Ascot. Showed plenty of early zip at Doncaster last week over seven furlongs and hope here seems to rest from a positive reaction to first-time blinkers.
Louis The Pious
Required plenty of encouragement from the saddle to arrest a losing run of two years at Haydock in a conditions event, though handicapper seems in no rush to drop him just yet. Ninth in last year's renewal and takes this assignment off a 1lb higher mark.
Three wins in the bag this year and accounted for subsequent King George Stakes winner Moviesta on the third such occasion. Admittedly well held on two starts at Goodwood but it sometimes pays to forgive modest runs at that circuit and he could just have slipped in beneath the radar for this contest.
Winner of this race in 2008 and confirmed himself as no back number when finishing second to Captain Ramius in last year's renewal. Ran a bizarre race at Chester last time out but had finished fourth in the Great St Wilfrid and certainly doesn't lack for guts.
Winner of the race in 2011 when trained by Kevin Ryan and takes his chance off an 8lb lower mark on this occasion. Never competitive at Doncaster over what was probably an inadequate trip in the Portland and dangerous to dismiss him off an appealing racing weight.
A credit to connections as a juvenile and was predictably hammered by the handicapper as a consequence. Handles soft ground and while running with plenty of promise in the Lincoln earlier in the season, he's hard to fancy after a lamentable run at York.
There's an obvious reason why bookmakers sponsor handicaps like this and this looks a predictably hot renewal with the bottom-weight rated 97. Jack Dexter has been highly progressive over the last year and there's little doubt that he'd be a very popular winner, while one couldn't rule out Captain Ramius if he turns up in the form he showed twelve months ago. However BACCARAT looks to have been laid out for this race and he can justify the ante-post confidence already shown in him. The Great St Wilfrid winner looks as if he should be able to cope with the prevailing going and could develop into a Listed performer in time. Hoof It appears well handicapped on his old form and can give a good account, and at slightly longer odds, Our Jonathan could add to his decent record in the race by hitting the frame.