Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips to consider at Ayr, Newbury and Newmarket on Saturday. View selections below.
COLONEL MAK (3.30) should give a good account of himself in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, with ground and track in his favour.
In a 40-race career, David Barron’s five-year-old has run only twice at the Scottish venue, winning the 2010 William Hill Silver Cup and producing an excellent effort in the main event 12 months ago, leading over a furlong out before eventually plugging on into fourth behind Our Jonathan. The winner races off the same mark, so has to go on the shortlist, but Colonel Mak enjoys a significant weight pull with fancied Irish raider Maarek and Shropshire on their running at Newmarket back in May. Portland Handicap winner Doc Hay (5lb penalty) is clearly in great heart, while The Cheka drops into a handicap for the first time in almost 12 months after a string of solid efforts in Group class.
In the William Hill Bronze Cup, Jim Goldie’s JACK DEXTER (1.45) gets his preferred soft ground for the first time since scoring at Chester from Gabrial’s Bounty in May. He overcame a poor draw/quick ground to post an eyecatching fourth to Heeraat at York last time and looks sure to run a big race at his local track.
The William Hill Silver Cup often falls to a fancied runner and the likes of Highland Colori, Amadeus Wolfe Tone and SPINATRIX (2.20) hold leading claims. Michael Dods’ four-year-old is a real mudlark and boasts a course and distance victory in July.
On a fine Newbury card, HAJRAS (3.10) could deliver the goods at a nice price in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap over 1m 2f. Mark Johnston’s three-year-old will be right at home on the quickest ground he has encountered for some time. Hajras could never get competitive in a tough Heritage handicap at Ascot last time, but 1m 4f would have stretched his stamina in any case. Likely favourite Kirthill is a course and distance winner, while Specific Gravity paid the penalty for going off too fast at Doncaster. Any rain would boost his claims.
Goldie sends two of his stable stalwarts, GORDONSVILLE (3.55) and Nanton, to contest the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket. Nanton finished ninth in the 2009 Cesarewitch off a mark of 102, so his current perch (87) renders the veteran a well-handicapped horse. He ran a cracker in the competitive Mallard Stakes at Doncaster last week, failing by a head to reel in fast-improving Sir Graham Wade, and loves the track. Gordonsville is an out-and-out stayer and may be able to improve on last year’s third place in this event, when the ground was riding a bit too slick.
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