Ayr Gold Cup | A Scottish Storm – The Top Three

Newbury Lockinge Day

Ahead of the Ayr Gold Cup this weekend, The Top Three could be on for a potential four-in-a-row if all three selections win later today.

This is thanks to Liberty Lane’s victory at Doncaster last week as my final selection of the St Leger Festival, a race that certainly raised my heart rate higher than I had previously expected.

Securing a 100%-win rate from four selections isn’t easy, but I thought I’d start this week’s piece with a little bit of humorous hope.

Away from my beckoning career as a stand-up comedian, three horses look like interesting candidates at both Ayr and Newbury today including a 14/1-shot in the opening Scottish contest.


1:15 Ayr – Stormbuster @ 14/1 General – 1pt EW

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There’s something about three-year-olds in open grade handicaps that always catches my eye and the same goes for Stormbuster at 14/1 in the opening one-mile contest at Ayr.

The well-bred Dubawi colt is out of Barshiba, a Group 2 Lancashire Oaks winner in 2010, making him a full-brother to the 2015 Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes victor Arabian Queen.

So far, the Andrew Balding-trained colt hasn’t shown that genetic ability too well on the track, however, he bolted up by five lengths on his fourth start as a two-year-old and finished third to Isaac Shelby on debut; he was even sent off 7/1 for the Group 1 Vertem Futurity and ran well for a long time despite being on the wrong side of the track in attritional conditions.

This year, just six rivals have finished behind him in four races, however, there are excuses for these performances.

Firstly, his first two runs occurred over 10 furlongs, a distance he has yet to truly see out, and in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester in May, he travelled well before colliding with two horses and soon stopped quickly.

Two poor performances in quicker conditions are understandable as he has a preference towards softer ground, something connections agree with as he was a non-runner at Salisbury earlier this month for the unsuitable official going of good to firm.

Back on a slower surface and off a lowly mark of 89, with his four-pound three-year-old allowance, today could be the day to catch him in a winnable handicap.


1:30 Newbury – Nymphadora @ 10/3 with William Hill – 1pt win

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The well-known colours of St Albans Bloodstock Limited make up two of the five runners in the Group 3 World Trophy Stakes at Newbury, yet it’s the longer-priced runner of the duo, Nymphadora, that I’m siding with.

Firstly, soft ground and five furlongs are what she thrives off, as shown by her two victories this season at Chester and York; she even tried to Live In The Dream, a future Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes winner, four pounds in weight at Chester last year when second on good-to-soft ground.

This liking towards soft ground is an unknown for her owner-mate, Sense Of Duty, who heads the market despite drifting out to 2/1 from 5/4 throughout the week.

Due to a setback, the last time Sense Of Duty appeared on track was at Newcastle over six furlongs when an impressive winner of the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes; connections have their eyes on the Group 1 Champions Sprint Stakes in October, so this race looks like a nice preparation to get her 100% for that target.

Sense Of Duty has yet to race over five furlongs or soft ground, and with her dam, Margaret’s Mission, a one-mile winner on good-to-firm, it would take a braver man than myself to be backing her today.

With that in mind, both Raasel and Nymphadora are the horses that will enjoy the ground, with preference falling to the younger filly who should be fresher and receives three pounds from Michael Appleby’s six-year-old gelding.


3:00 Ayr – Navassa Island @ 4/1 with William Hill – 3pt win

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Readers of the Ante-post Analysis column or watchers of the Only Fools Love Horses Podcast could be sat on a nice ante-post docket for Navassa Island in the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes at 3:00 today.

Of course, you can’t eat value, but the Michael O’Callaghan-trained two-year-old has more than halved in price to 4/1 for the £40,000 contest.

For full reasoning behind her chances, click here for the link to Wednesday’s piece, but now we know the full field, let’s see what the pace of the race could be like.

The likely pace angles look to be provided through Exponista (stall five), Dorothy Lawrence (stall six) and Imperiality (stall seven) while the likes of Bellarchi (stall three) and Raqiya (stall two) have made all with success in the past.

That is plenty of pace in a nine-runner juvenile field, something that should benefit Navassa Island as her second to Porta Fortuna on debut came from an off-the-pace ride.

Hopefully, I have done my calculations correctly because if I have, Navassa Island looks like an exciting prospect in the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde.

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