THE William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (3.50pm) is one of the most historic handicaps on the flat racing calendar and it is certainly Scotland’s biggest day’s racing of the whole year.
However, although the locals come out in force to celebrate it, they haven’t cheered home a Scottish winner since 1975. That could all be about to change tomorrow afternoon, though, as Jack Dexter, trained in nearby Renfrewshire by Jim Goldie, is Coral’s 8/1 favourite.
The four-year-old won last year’s Bronze Cup in imperious fashion and has since risen to a mark of 110. He loves soft ground, so conditions should be ideal, but at 8/1 I’m happy to look elsewhere, especially with his trainer not in flying form at the moment.
Both last year’s winner Captain Ramius and the 2011 victor Our Jonathan are interesting and certainly aren’t handicapped out of things, but the two Irish entries are the ones that have caught my eye.
Ger Lyons’ stable is red hot at the moment and he brings over JOE EILE to try to scoop this massive pot. The son of Iffraaj has run some fine races this season, most notably when dead-heating at Navan back in June.
Soft ground and six furlongs is his ideal combination and he could get a lovely toe into the race from stall six with plenty of speed on the far side. The 33/1 on offer with Coral is more than fair.
At the same price, I’m also going to take a chance on David Marnane’s RED DUBAWI, who has been lining up in Listed races on a regular basis.
Yes, he’s only won two of his 25 career starts, but his trainer does very well with his runners over here and Red Dubawi looks pretty well-handicapped, especially with promising apprentice Connor King’s 5lb claim.
His draw in stall 17 means that King can opt to stay stands side or come down the middle, so he is another who could outrun his 33/1 odds.
The highlight of tomorrow’s card at The Racecourse Newbury is undoubtedly the Group Two Dubai Duty Free Middle Park Stakes (2.20pm) where Richard Hannon will be trying to win the race for the fifth time.
Of his two, I’d prefer the chances of Anticipated over Shamshon as the former is proven on soft ground. However, they may both struggle to cope with Richard Fahey’s SUPPLICANT.
Unlucky to finish fifth in the Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood behind Anticipated, the Kyllachy colt has won his last two at Ripon and Fahey is in great form at the moment.
Finally, I will be backing Ed Dunlop’s VOODOO PRINCE in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (2.55pm). He ran well at Doncaster last week and the drop back to 10 furlongs should suit perfectly.
Soft ground holds no fears and Andrea Atzeni is the perfect jockey for him as he needs to be played late and strike right on the line.
SUPPLICANT 2.20pm Newbury
VOODOO PRINCE e/w 2.55pm Newbury
JOE EILE e/w 3.50pm Ayr
RED DUBAWI e/w 3.50pm Ayr