Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with sven to follow on Saturday at Ayr, Newbury, Catterick and Newmarket. View selections below
The ground looks likely to be good for today’s Ayr Gold Cup one of the most valuable and prestigious sprint handicaps on the racing calendar. The unbeaten 3-y-old Don’t Touch is clearly group class on soft ground but with the ground drying out all the time he might not quite be as effective; he is currently the 7/1 market leader at BetVictor who are paying five places on both the Gold and Silver Cups.
My two against the field however are Toofi (3.45) drawn in stall five and Blaine third in the race last year from a 6lbs higher mark. The former (16/1 at BetVictor) has a 7lbs pull with Hoof It for the length-and-a-half he was beaten at Doncaster last time and Roger Varian puts a first time visor on his four-year-old who also finished runner up at Goodwood last month. Adam Kirby takes the mount for the first time and that Stewards’ Cup form is top class given the winner (Magical Memory) was subsequently beaten less than a length in Haydock’s Group One sprint.
Graham Lee takes the ride on Blaine whose trainer Kevin Ryan has saddled the winner three times in the last decade and this 5-y-old looks as if he has been laid out for the race. He is drawn in stall 21 (near the stands’ rail) and at 14/1 has every chance of going two better than last year when he went off 7/1 market leader.
In the Silver Cup I think Eccleston must go close to justifying favouritism but he carries a 5lbs penalty for his recent Thirsk success and back in fourth was Chris Wall’s filly Johara (2.35) and she can reverse the form with that run under her belt and Ted Durcan taking over in the saddle. The selection is 8/1 with BetVictor and is drawn under the stands’ rail in stall 25.
At the time of writing it is unclear whether Eagle Top will run at Ayr or Newbury but in the Doonside Cup at the Scottish track I hope to see Mutakayyef (3.10) go one better than when finishing runner up to Mondialiste at York in the Gp 3 Strensall Stakes on his belated reappearance last month.
That form has been franked by the subsequent Gp 1 success of the winner and I know the 4-y-o is held in some regard by the Haggas yard although he does only have the one success from eight career starts although he is yet to finish out of the first three.
Eagle Top will be a warm favourite if he takes up this option given he finished runner up to Postponed in the King George last time on soft ground but he is more likely to take his engagement at Newbury one would imagine and remains 8/1 at BetVictor for the Champions’ Stakes.
The ground is likely to be extremely tacky at Newbury and the hope is that Ribchester (2.15) can make it third time lucky in the Mill Reef Stakes for Richard Fahey. The selection has finished second in both starts including in the Gimcrack at York last time; he has only run on decent ground and his ability to handle holding ground must be taken on trust but he looks a decent prospect and can take what looks a non-vintage Mill Reef.
I’m going to give Top Tug (2.50) a last chance dropping back to 10f having flattered to deceive at York last time from a 4lbs lower mark when third of 17 over 12f. As a son of Halling he should improve with age and the ground should not be an issue; Jamie Spencer takes over in the saddle and at 7/1 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t get a place.
It has been a difficult week for the stable of Tom Dascombe having lost their flagship horse Brown Panther, fatally injured at the Curragh last weekend. Their 3-y-old Cymro (10/1) looks a progressive sort and is another to consider.
Goathland (4.10) has to carry 10st at Catterick (save Kevin Stott’s 3lbs claim) but I was impressed with his latest Bath success and his previous second at Haydock was franked earlier in the week when winner Star Storm fairly ran away with a Yarmouth handicap. The son of Teofilo would not want any more rain, but the forecast is good and he is built to carry weight.
At Newmarket Victoire De Lyphar (2.40) should get a decent gallop to chase and has been knocking on the door of late; he needs a straight 7f on ground with a bit of cut in and there should be no excuses. He is certainly well handicapped on his best form.