There was an Irish gamble in the 2018 Ayr Gold Cup when the 5/1 favourite Son Of Rest was joined on the line by Paul Cole’s Baron Bolt as they dead-heated for the valuable prize. Ger Lyons Buffer Zone has been the subject of a gamble this week following his fluent Curragh success in a competitive 6f sprint on Sunday and he will carry a 5lbs penalty in Scotland.
He is the 7/1 market leader at BetVictor from 12/1 – each way 5 places – and he looks sure to go close granted a favourable stall at this morning’s televised draw.
The Doonside Cup is today’s feature race on the opening day of Ayr’s feature Western Meeting and What’s The Story looks sure to head the market for Keith Dalgleish stepping back up in trip having won at York over a mile last time. The 5-y-old has never won over 10f despite finishing third in the John Smith’s Cup earlier in the season and he is overlooked.
Big Country (3.35) showed more at Doncaster last time – second run since a wind operation – but his effort petered out rather disappointingly although his shrewd connections allowed him to go off at 33/1. In the circumstances it was an eye-catching run and it will be fascinating to see what the market says about his prospects today. He will not be a 33/1 shot today.
A market move for Andrew Balding’s Irish import Encapsulation would be worth noting although she did finish last of six at York last time having shaped with promise on her British debut when runner up at Sandown over a mile.
Morisco (1.30) was drawn out wide in the Acomb Stakes at York last time and he turned right coming out of the stalls. In the circumstances he ran an excellent race to finish fifth and I hope he will return to winning ways stepped up to a mile for the first time. The selection can be a bit keen and carries a 3lb penalty for his previous Newcastle success but has a good draw in stall 3 and makes the long trek north from Cheshire for Tom Dascombe.
Woodside Wonder (3.00) carries a 6lbs penalty for scoring at Catterick last time and he is taken to follow up for Keith Dalgleish from a mark that is still 6lbs lower than his current all-weather mark. If he gets out on terms – was slowly away on his penultimate start – then he has an excellent draw in stall one and looks sure to run a big race.
The classic generation have won the last three renewals of the 1m 5f Handicap and trainer Keith Dalgleish has saddled the winner twice in the last four years. His 3-y-old Iron Mike has a leading chance from a 7lbs higher mark than when scoring at Musselburgh last time.
I am going to take a more speculative punt, however, with Mick Easterby’s lightly-raced Dreams And Visions (5.00) who I felt ran a good race at Doncaster last time and stayed on nicely under hands and heels in a much better race. He gets the each way vote at what I expect to be a double-figure price.
The Corporal didn’t seem at home at Sandown last time and it would be no surprise if he bounced back at Yarmouth a track where he has won both his starts over today’s 10f trip. I just favour Harrovian (4.20) who is blinkered for the first time – wore a visor last time – by John Gosden having finished third in a couple of valuable and competitive handicaps on his last couple of starts.
Polybius finished runner up in the finale from a 4lbs higher mark 12 months ago and he must go close with Yimou likely to make it a true gallop. I just favour Tinto (4.50) with Marco Ghiani taking off a valuable 7lbs for Amanda Perrett whose string remain in good form.
At Pontefract Forewarning (4.10) can follow up his C&D success on his penultimate start having showed improved form again when runner up at York last time from this mark. Note he has been raised 4lbs for that run on the Knavesmire but can race from his old mark today.
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