Growl to beat Orion’s Bow in William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

ayr-gold-cup
Dandy Nicholls
has won this ultra competitive heat an impressive six times this century, so his two runners, Orion’s Bow, and Kimberella, have to be of interest. The former a 5yo by Pivotal, ran a great race in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood, finishing second, off a mark of 103 to the better drawn Dancing Star. He disappointed next time in the Great St Wilfred at Ripon racing off a mark of 106. Excuses can be made however as he was drawn on the wrong side, and had to be switched, so his 8th place wasn’t bad in the circumstances. Also it was his first run at Ripon, a course that certainly doesn’t suit all horses. Orion’s Bow is a most progressive animal having won his first handicap in July 2014 off a lowly 74 and his last victory in July saw him take a class2 Hamliton handicap (soft) of a mark of 97 winning by 3 1/4L from that good yardstick Hoof It. He handles most ground and it will come as no great surprise if he defies his new mark of 106.

The second Nicholls runner Kimberella is also very progressive, winning his first handicap in April 2014 off a mark of 82 and now running off 105. He was particularly impressive when winning a Class2 York handicap (Gd/fm) off a mark of 99 in July. Badly drawn in the Stewards Cup he finished 13th, beaten 4 3/4L off a mark of 103. He fared little better in the Great St Wilfred at Ripon finishing 10th, but the memory of that scintillating York victory remains, and given fast ground could get involved his new mark.

Read our Ayr Gold Cup preview from 2014.

Kevin Ryan has won this three times since 2007, and of his three entries, the 4yo Treuntum Star looks the least exposed. A winner of four of his thirteen starts, he was quite impressive when taking a Newmarket Class2 handicap off a mark of 95 on soft ground on his reappearance in April. Well beaten 19 days later on good, his shrewd trainer put him away until the Autumn, presumably to protect his handicap mark and exploit his preference for soft ground. Nicely treated and best after a break he is definitely one to consider, particularly if Irish maestro Pat Smullen takes the ride.

Richard Fahey’s 4yo gelding Growl is another who put up a fine performance in the Stewards Cup. Drawn out with the washing in stall 26 he had anything but a clear passage and Ryan Moore did well to finish fourth, full of running, only a nose and a head behind Orion’s Bow in second and Raucous in third. He meets the Nicholls horse a pound better at the weekend, and Raucous 5lbs better, so having had a welcome break  since Goodwood looks a worthy favourite.

David O’Meara’s 6yo gelding by Pivotal, Watchable, has been campaigned at listed or Group level in his last four races, and indeed finished a very respectable 3rd in a German Group2 last time out. He ran in a handicap at Royal Ascot in June where despite a poor draw finished 5th of 25 racing off a mark of 108. Racing off the same mark on Saturday, and coming from this yard he’s worth a second look.

Only one 3yo (Don’t Touch last year) has won this in the last decade, but W Haggas’s Raucous, a colt by Dream Ahead has plenty to recommend him. Eighth in the Gp3 Jersey stakes at the Royal Meeting, he finished a good 3rd in a Newbury Gp3 behind older horses next time out. Badly drawn in the Stewards Cup he ran a cracker off a mark of 102 to finish third. He ran inexplicably badly next time when a well backed 7/2 2nd fav for a listed race at Headquarters and in the subsequent stewards inquiry nothing came to light. However it often proves wise to forgive a horse one bad run and off his mark of 106 this talented 3yo is worth considering.

If Roger Varian’s Certificate, a 5yo gelding by Pivotal runs here in preference to a lNewbury engagement on Friday he must be of interest. Relatively lightly raced, he has been campaigned over further than 6f and has won his last two races, both over 7f.  He travels well, racing up with the pace, so the drop back in distance may not be a disadvantage. Indeed his ability to stay further may prove an asset. More of a concern would be, that on the three occasions he has encountered ground with soft in the going description he has drawn a blank.

Selection:   Growl

E.W.     :   Orion’s Bow

Horse Betting Tips Scottish Grand National Ayr Saturday

Sam Winner

Paul Nicholl’s Sam Winner looked a likely type for this when beating The Druids Nephew and Saint Are over 3m31/2f at Cheltenham in November, and confirmed He was on the up, when beating the classy pair Medermit and Ma Filleule at Aintree four weeks later.

Saint Are, our e.w. Suggestion in last weeks National, ran a great race to finish 2nd at the rewarding odds of 25/1, so let’s hope we can point you in the right direction in this weekend’s Scottish equivalent.

Having won the race once and been placed three times from only ten runners, over the last decade, anything proud Scot Alan King enters must be treated with respect. His representative on Saturday is the 7yo Beneficial gelding Sego Success, who on only his second attempt over the larger obstacles, beat the well backed favourite, If In Doubt (won next time out) over 3m1f at Wetherby last November. He followed up six weeks later with quite a fetching performance when winning a Cl1 listed novices chase over Warwick’s demanding course. Strongly fancied for the four mile National hunt chase at the Cheltenham festival, He got seriously knocked about, and his jumping suffered, so it was to his credit that he was still in contention until between the last two fences. He faded to finish 5th 17l behind the runner up, and favourite for Saturday’s contest, Broadway Buffalo. Given a more trouble free passage at the weekend, the very progressive Sego Success, with his nice racing weight of 10st5lbs must have a good chance of being involved at the business end on Saturday.

Following his fine run at the Festival Broadway Buffalo’s chance has to be respected, but he has had a busy season and perhaps Saturday’s contest is something of an afterthought. He also does seem to reserve his best for an easy surface, so conditions are unlikely to to suit.

Paul Nicholl’s Sam Winner looked a likely type for this when beating The Druids Nephew and Saint Are over 3m31/2f at Cheltenham in November, and confirmed He was on the up, when beating the classy pair Medermit and Ma Filleule at Aintree four weeks later. Three weeks after that He again ran another good race when finishing 3rd in the Gd1 Lexus chase at Leopardstown. He reappeared 14 weeks later in the Gold Cup where he was pulled up before the third last, when he may well have needed the race. He remains the class act in Saturday’s contest, will not be inconvenienced by good ground, and must have serious prospects of emulating Grey Abbey in 2004, the last animal to hump 11st12lbs to victory.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Catching On, in March, won a 3m61/2f Exeter handicap very easily off a mark of124, and eleven days later was backed in to 5/2 fav to win the Midland Grand National at Uttoxeter off 130. The race may well have come too soon as he never got into his stride, and fell at the 8th. Now racing off a mark of 139 He doesn’t look particularly well handicapped, but with his attractive weight of 10st3lbs and coming from this yard, He is difficult to dismiss.

Last years runner up Trustan Times, has had a disappointing season and as a result is 2lbs lower in the handicap than last year. His shrewd trainer used the same race (Pertemps hurdle final) at the Cheltenham Festival, as he did last year, as the horses final prep for this. While it is true that Trustan Times has been disappointing over the season, it is worth remembering that the stable was badly out out of form all winter, and it would be no great surprise to see him to the fore again with his feather weight of 10st2lbs.

Tony Martin sends Gallant Oscar over from Ireland, and this lightly raced 9yo looks nicely weighted with just 10st1lb. He ran like a stayer at the Festival, when a running on 3rd behind The Druids Nephew and Grand Gesture. He had previously finished 4th in the Thyestes Chase, in awful conditions, to the Gold Cup runner up Djakadam,so does appear to be well treated at the weekend.

Peter Bowen is represented by Al Co and Edmund Kean. Al Co won last years renewal for the stable, but having got no further than the first last week at Aintree, and being 5lbs higher than last year, perhaps the more interesting of the two is Edmund Kean. Having been pulled up in his previous two races Edmund Kean, last time, ran very promisingly at Stratford when going down by a neck to Midnight Lira off a mark of 127. Bound to be suited by the step up in distance, and despite being 3lbs wrong in the handicap, it is not impossible that he might emulate Joes Edge, who won from three pounds out of the handicap in 2004.

Selection: Sam Winner

E.W. : Gallant Oscar