Heavy ground forecast at Ayr for this afternoon’s eight-race card which begins with a maiden hurdle over an extended two-and-a-half miles.
Bass Rock has, arguably, the best form on offer having finished runner up in a couple of Carlisle novice events over three furlongs shorter. He must go close, but the Olly Murphy yard have been in excellent form of late and Champagnesuperover (12.25) gets the vote.
The selection – 13/8 with Boylesports – returns to the scene of his impressive Bumper debut success and has had a wind operation since a beaten odds-on favourite at Chepstow on his second start over timber back in November. Murphy also fits his charge with a first-time tongue tie.
Strong Economy improved for the step up to 3m when scoring here last month and a 6lbs rise looks fair. He must go close although his jumping was not foot perfect and the frontrunners appeared to fall into something of a hole on that occasion. He has another three furlongs to travel this afternoon.
Polydora is fast becoming very well treated on his best form and he ran well for a long way in the Lincolnshire National last time. A market move would be significant for a yard who did us such a favour with Adrimel on Saturday.
Market leader Scoop The Pot has been raised 4lbs for finishing runner up at Kelso last time – 11lbs higher if you take into account jockey’s claim – and the vote goes to the hat-trick seeking Asking For Answers (1.55) who looks sure to appreciate this step up in trip having looked a dour stayer when winning over 3m here and at Hexham earlier in the season. As with Strong Economy his fencing has room for improvement, but he carries just 10st 2lbs including Danny McMenamin’s 3lbs claim and gets an ew vote at 9/2 with 10bet.
Dan Skelton has had many successful days in his impressive training career, but the yard had a wretched day on Saturday when they lost both former Cheltenham Festival winner and stable favourite Mohaayed and Ardlethen in less than an hour. Condolences to all involved with both horses.
Skelton saddles Not That Fuisse (1.15) at Lingfield – Jumpers Bumper card – in a race for horses who have run over 2m 3f+ in the past and have not won a Class 1 or Class 2 contest. The selection – 11/10 market leader – has not been seen since finishing fourth in the Haldon Gold Cup back in November and is reported to have had his wind operated on since that outing. He won his sole Bumper at Warwick on his racecourse debut and I will be disappointed if the yard don’t have something to cheer.
Another Skelton inmate Getariver (2.20) is unbeaten in her three Bumpers and connections look to have found another excellent opportunity. The mare won her first couple of Bumpers on turf and landed a similar contest to today’s at Wolverhampton back in February on tapeta. There seems no reason why she should not be at least as effective on polytrack.
Imphal was rated 80+ on the flat for Marcus Tregoning but would not want the race to develop into a sprint. I would expect to see Josh Moore make plenty of use of his father’s 7-y-old and he rates a big danger.
Richard Johnson takes the mount on Atomic Jack (3.25) who has shown little in two starts over hurdles on soft ground but who won a 2m handicap at Kempton on polytrack from a mark of 70 back in July and has run several good races over today’s C&D on the flat. The booking of Richard Johnson suggests a bold bid is expected.
There is a 2m Fast-Track Qualifier for Lingfield’s Good Friday card at Wolverhampton this evening and it sees the reappearance of Mekong (6.10) who has not been seen out since beaten over 20L in the Gold Cup back in June. Jamie Osborne has his string in good form, and he gets a narrow vote ahead of last year’s winner Rainbow Dreamer who returned from a break to run a terrific race at Newcastle last month in a similar race to this evening’s. He is a worthy favourite, but I just favour the Lambourn raider who is 4/1 with BetVictor.