Gunmetal shoots for the top, in Saturday’s Gold Cup and Seymour Biz is backing David Barron’s 5-year-old to hit the target. Here are his selections for your Lucky 15 wager.
The main action this week is north of the border at Ayr, a delightful seaside course not far from Glasgow. Every year the course has a wonderful turnout for the Gold Cup and this year will be no exception despite the inclement weather promised. There are several horses that have been laid out for Ayr’s big race of the year and there is one Irish raider that has been absolutely lumped on by his supporters. Prior to the big race is the Silver Cup for horses that don’t get into the big race, this is a really tricky betting heat with some huge priced winners over recent years, let’s see if we can pick this year’s winner. With the going likely to deteriorate it will be a difficult task, but I think I have found a couple of horses that will prove excellent value on the day. Newbury has an excellent supporting card on ITV with a meaty handicap for us to get our teeth into, but they also have three high quality stakes races and for these I like the look of Sergei Prokofiev, Judicial and Monarchs Glen at this stage. But it’s in the handicaps where the value is this weekend and here are my thoughts on these for this weeks Lucky Fifteen.
The televised racing starts at Newbury with the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at 1.45, where several horses with penalties are in attendance. The bookies current choice is Adamant from Sir Michael Stoute’s stable, a winner last time on the all weather at Chelmsford, that was his first run since finishing a poor seventh to Grey Britain at the Guineas meeting in May. I am unsure if he has what it takes to win this. Second in that Newmarket race was Uae Prince but he has not run since so is best watched if turning up here. One of the horses running with a penalty is Pivoine who won a good race at York where he had Communique and Exhort behind him. But I fear the extra weight will be too much for him and both horses can make their lower poundage count. Mountain Angel won at Ascot in May and has run well since without getting his nose in front, but his second behind Dubai Horizon last time was far and away his best run to date. It was also reported he lost a shoe that day which will not have helped his cause. John Gosden can do little wrong at the moment and he sends out Stylehunter, another with a penalty after a victory at at Goodwood in August where he won comfortably. But he had little to beat that day and may be flattered by the ease of his win. At a bigger price the previously mentioned Exhort ran a good race in second on heavy ground at Haydock a fortnight ago. A dual winner on good to soft, his trainer Richard Fahey will hope he gets into the handicap with his light weight. On balance I will side with Roger Varian’s charge Mountain Angel to capture this very prestigious prize at a nice price.
And so we move north to Scotland and the beautiful seaside course at Ayr where I’m afraid they will have to batten down the hatches this weekend with high winds promised. Their first race on television on Saturday is the William Hill Supporting The Fight Against Parkinson’s Handicap (2.00) over a mile. There is a big blot on the handicap here with Dayking who won at Catterick in April then last time was just held on the all-weather at Kempton, that form is reflected in his price and there is better value to be had elsewhere. Simon Crisford’s Red Mist won last time at Ripon with his head in his chest, his form this year is excellent but he is high in the weights. Charlie Hills thinks a lot of Porth Swtan, but he needs to get into the handicap and if he gets the run can go well. Fire Brigade is now getting the ground he wants and has run well in his last two starts but needs to drop further in the weights to take a contest like this. Course winner Masham Star has had a busy year with two victories but the going seems to be against him here. William Haggas’s Restive Spirit has only run over a mile twice but has won on both occasions, both times at Ripon, last time was a month ago and he could be well suited by this handicap if getting into the race. At a bigger price and guaranteed to be in the handicap is Mark Johnson’s Poet’s Society, this busy horse is a prolific winner with six victories this year. His latest was at York with Frankie Dettori riding, the Italian certainly gets a tune out of him and could make a difference if he has the mount, but I will side with Restive Spirit to overcome his rivals.
At 2.40 is the William Hill Silver Cup Handicap, this is a consolation race for those horses that do not make it into the Gold Cup proper. There have been some high priced winners in previous years showing what a difficult race it is to predict. But I will nail my colours to the mast with Normandy Barriere from Nigel Tinkler’s stable. The gelding has run consistently all season with four seconds from his last five starts, the latest being at Doncaster last week. That was over six and a half furlongs and he was just headed on the line by Von Blucher in a race he won in 2016. That was on good/soft so the going here at Ayr should not be a problem. Looking down the runners, others with chances are Shared Equity who last ran at Galway, finishing down the field. He looks more a 7 furlong horse these days. Muscika has a 5lb penalty for a win at Thirsk at the end of last month but is a course and distance winner. Rapid Applause has let himself down recently after a great start to the season, the going here will suit him if he can recover his previous form. Dakota Gold was well fancied last week at Doncaster and ran well into fourth doing his best work at the end, the extra half furlong here will suit him.
Finally at 3.50 we come to the big race of the day, the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. There has been a major gamble here on the Irish trained Son Of Rest, Fozzy Stack’s colt ran a fine race last week in a Group 1 at The Curragh. He is due to be put up 10lbs after that run but not until after this race, however he has never won over 6 furlongs and that puts a big question mark over his form. G Force is a Group 1 winner but that was four years ago, he won a small handicap in April then ran behind Merchant Navy in May, he has not been seen out since. Hey Jonesy has been highly tried this season by Kevin Ryan, he was last seen in the Sprint Cup at Haydock but ran down the field beaten 14 lengths. Tim Easterby has several declared here, the best of which could be Flying Pursuit, he is a course and distance winner and won well on his penultimate race at York, having several of the contenders he will meet here behind him that day. But there is one statistic here I cannot ignore and that is that the last five winners all won on their previous outing. There are only two qualifiers in the lists this year, Baron Bolt trained by Paul Cole who won a Class 2 handicap at Goodwood in August and Gunmetal. And it is Gunmetal that really interests me. David Barron’s 5-year-old grey gelding is a beautiful looking animal who has won three from five this season, all over 6 furlongs. His latest win at Ripon in the Great St Wilfrid where he made all was an excellent victory, and afterwards his trainer stated “He has the entry for Ayr, but he doesn’t want too much cut in the ground”. He had most of the field here toiling behind him that day, including Dakota Gold, Growl and Spring Loaded, and even though he is on a higher mark he had enough in hand then to enable him to take this contest.
Saturday Lucky 15
1.45 Newbury. Mountain Angel
2.00 Ayr. Restive Spirit
2.40 Ayr. Normandy Barriere
3.50 Ayr. Gunmetal
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