Ayr Gold Cup | In Rohaan We Trust – Ante-post Analysis

Ayr Gold Cup

Following a break last week due to the Doncaster St Leger meeting, today sees a return for the Ante-post Analysis column ahead of the Ayr Gold Cup this weekend. 

Two horses are on my agenda ahead of tomorrow’s declarations for the Scottish track, so let’s dive in. 


Island could be in paradise 

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In 2011, the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde went the way of Roger Sez for Tim Easterby and 12 years on, her filly by Territories, Navassa Island, will be hoping to emulate her dam. 

The Michael O’Callaghan-trained two-year-old caught the eye on debut in May when second in the Group 3 Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas. 

She finished just a neck behind Porta Fortuna that day despite experiencing a tough route through the race; the winner has since won the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot before a runners-up medal in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and a good third in the Group 1 Moyglare Stakes. 

Fast forward two months and Navassa Island stepped up in trip to an extended seven furlongs at the Curragh where she ran well but seemingly didn’t see out the distance. 

Connections agreed with this view as they brought her back to six furlongs last month and was a comfortable winner at the Curragh; the second, She’s Quality, bolted up on her next start at Sandown and the third, Letsbefranksboutit, succeeded in the Group 3 Round Table Stakes 13 days later.

A look through her pedigree suggests that soft ground could be fine, though this is an unknown, and at 10/1, I’m hopeful of a big run from Navassa Island. 


Group horse in a handicap 

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This Flat season, high-rated horses have dropped into handicaps with a decent weight on their back to good effect; Ancient Rome at Glorious Goodwood and Equilateral at York instantly spring to mind.

Although Rohaan has a slightly different profile to both mentioned examples, he still holds a good chance in Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup at 14/1. 

Firstly, the David Evans-trained five-year-old is four pounds wrong at the weights off a mark of 104 as the handicapper has dropped his mark since the entry stage thanks to two disappointing efforts.

Despite this, with the rain set to hit the South Ayrshire track ahead of their premier Flat race of the year, he still holds good merit towards the top of weights.

Once rated 116, the Mayson gelding last visited the winners’ enclosure in October when a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Bengough Stakes on good-to-soft ground.

Before that, he was a surprise victor of the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes on heavy and also won his first Wokingham Stakes off a mark of 112 on soft in 2021.

Although Rohaan’s form this season leaves a bit to desired, he bounced back to his best having raced poorly ahead of last year’s Wokingham Stakes victory, so there is precedent for him to improve considerably.

At 14/1, he is a classy animal and could easily be the best horse on Saturday.

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