Ayr Gold Cup Tips: Take on the field with these two fancies

The 2018 Ayr Gold Cup produced a dead heat between Baron Bolt and Son Of Rest.
The 2018 Ayr Gold Cup produced a dead heat between Baron Bolt and Son Of Rest.

Nick Seddon previews Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup, which is one of the most competitive handicaps of the entire season…

The Ayr Gold Cup is about as tricky as it gets as far as punters are concerned, and only two favourites have obliged in the race this century - with one of those, Son Of Rest, dead-heating in 2018. 

As a big-field sprint handicap, you’d expect there to be a significant draw bias, and while one side tends to dominate, this changes year-on-year. Indeed, ignoring the rearranged 2017 renewal at Haydock, we’ve seen a mixture of winners from high and low draws over the past 10 runnings. 

While favourites have a poor record, the winner has generally been well-found in the market this century, and Mr Lupton is proving popular for this year’s renewal. He arrives here in good heart, having ended a long losing run when winning a competitive handicap at the Curragh last week. He’s run to higher levels in the past, meaning he deserves respect, but a 5 lb penalty demands more in such a competitive affair.

Also prominent in the market are Nahaarr, Stone Of Destiny and Staxton. The last-named is on a roll, and arrives here on the back of winning the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon last month. He ought to give this a good go, though a 6 lb penalty makes life tougher - for all that he’s won off higher marks in the past. Nahaarr looked one to follow when winning a valuable contest at Newbury in July, but he couldn’t get into things in the Stewards’ Cup last month, and has something to prove off his present mark.

Meanwhile, Stone Of Destiny looks worthy of an interest. Like the above trio, he is another who arrives here on the back of a valuable success, winning the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last week. He stormed through late in the day to get up there, and will have to shoulder a 5 lb penalty here as a consequence. He's back up to around the limit of his abilities weight wise, but he's run off higher marks in the past and has winning form off just 1 lb lower than this at last year's Shergar Cup. He has a high draw, meaning there should be sufficient pace to track courtesy of the likes of Air Raid, Major Jumbo and Bungee Jump, and he makes plenty of appeal with Oisin Murphy booked to ride.

Three familiar names in this sphere are Spanish City, Gulliver and Hey Jonesy. All three are reasonably prominent in the market, and the first-named regularly appeals as one who's lurking on a good mark. He perhaps doesn't win as often as he should as a consequence, but he shaped well when a close-up fifth at Ascot last time out and has to be considered off the same mark - though he tends to save his best form for Ascot. Hey Jonesy bagged a big prize when winning the Wokingham at Royal Ascot in June, though he struggled off an inflated mark in the Stewards' Cup last time and has been given no let-up from the handicapper here. Meanwhile, Gulliver was well-held behind Mr Lupton last week and has a very tough task off top weight - a mark which Major Jumbo will also struggle to defy on his return to handicap company.

Four more to consider are Air Raid, Arecibo, Bielsa and Wise Counsel. The first-named arrives here on the back of a good effort to finish third at Hamilton, though he's struggled in these kind of events in the past and has something to prove, while Bielsa has struggled so far this season and needs to rediscover his best form to have strong claims. Arecibo hasn't won since striking over five furlongs here in July 2019, but he's slipping down the weights and a string of good recent runs suggests his turn could be near. Wise Counsel also has winning course form, scoring over seven furlongs 12 months ago, though he'll need to improve for his reappearance run earlier this month off a career-high mark.

Meanwhile, in such a competitive affair, it could also be worth playing Another Batt each-way. He's on the other side to Stone Of Destiny with a low draw, and arrives here on the back of a poor run at Leopardstown last week - finishing down the field in a competitive event over seven furlongs. However, he'd scored on reappearance at Thirsk prior to that, and is worthy of another chance. He's a smart sprinter at his best, meaning that he's potentially very well treated on his best form, and he should arrive here fit after two starts this term. He should have a strong pace to sit off here, and it would be no surprise to see him hit the frame at a double figure price - in what will almost certainly be a frenetically-run affair.


Ayr Gold Cup, Saturday 19th September - back Stone Of Destiny at 9/1

Ayr Gold Cup, Saturday 19th September - back Another Batt each-way at 16/1

Ayr Gold Cup
Stone Of Destiny silk

Stone Of Destiny

Ayr Gold Cup
Another Batt silk

Another Batt (EW)

Cambridgeshire Handicap Odds
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