Day two of Ayr’s Western meeting and, in the listed fillies contest over five-and-a-half furlongs, Last Empire finished fourth in the corresponding race 12 months ago and heads the market at 9/4 for Kevin Ryan. The four-year-old ran her best race of the campaign when runner up at Beverley in listed company last time over the minimum trip although she would not want the ground to dry out too much.
The vote, however, goes to Irish raider Back To Brussels (3.10) who was only beaten a couple of lengths behind Sprint Cup runner up Glen Shiel at the Curragh on her penultimate start before easily landing the odds on heavy ground at Cork. The filly is 7/2 with 10bet.
Gumdrop (2.10) will appreciate the return to 6f, having looked a non-stayer when third over an additional furlong at Doncaster last week. He had previously run out an impressive winner at Chester and, although he is 10lbs higher today, his talented apprentice takes off a valuable 5lbs. The ew recommendation is 11/2 with William Hill.
Mick Easterby’s Elysian Flame did not look a natural over timber and returns from a six month lay-off in the extended 2m 1f handicap. He was in particularly good form when last seen on the level last autumn and must go close despite the steadier of 10st.
Nakeeta turned back the clock to win the 1m 6f contest on Thursday and the 9-year-old Fun Mac (4.25) has dropped to a mark 2lbs below when scoring at Pontefract over this trip back in October. Jockey PJ McDonald will want to make sure the race is not run at a crawl, but Beechwood Jude made all to score at Catterick – albeit over 1m 4f – last time. The 5s with bet365 looks fair.
At Newbury Mirage Mac carries a penalty for scoring at Wolverhampton on debut and she may struggle to give 2lbs to John Gosden’s colt Haajoos (1.20) who lost all chance at the start when a never nearer fourth at Kempton on debut. He is entitled to come on for the experience and Jim Crowley takes over in the saddle. The juvenile is 11/10 with Boylesports.
The Haynes, Hanson & Clarke Conditions event is one of the oldest sponsorships in racing and all five of the runners are previous winners in this competitive heat. Roger Varian’s Baradar is unbeaten having scored over 7f here last month on soft ground. There is no reason why he should not be at least as effective on this better ground and he is an exciting prospect.
The form of Yabir’s Sandown win was given a boost when the runner up subsequently occupied the same position in a Group 3 and the Godolphin colt looks ready for a step up to a mile. He is a big danger but Magallan (3.40) can return to winning ways having finished second at Kempton last time when dropped back to 7f. The colt – 10/3 with William Hill – had previously looked very smart when scoring at Newmarket over a mile on debut and he holds an entry in next weekend’s Gp 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and next month’s Gp 1 Dewhurst Stakes.
There is enough stamina on the distaff side of the family to think Maurimo (5.20) will appreciate the step up to 10f for the first time in the concluding 15-runner handicap. The classic generation have won the last couple of renewals of this prize and the selection has only had four career starts. The filly – 7/1 with 10bet – is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Cannock Chase and the hope is that today’s additional couple of furlongs will bring about the necessary improvement.