The opening day of Ayr’s Western meeting will be run on ground just on the easy side of good but there is no significant rain forecast for the three-day meeting which culminates on Saturday with the Ayr Gold Cup one of the most valuable sprint handicaps in the calendar.
Revich won at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago over a mile and his recent runs suggest he is worth a try over ten furlongs. There is every chance on breeding that he will get the additional quarter of a mile and he has an excellent draw in stall two.
Al Mubhir heads the market for William Haggas, but he is drawn out on the wing in stall 13 and is short enough in the betting at 11/4.
My two against the field are First Impression, who represents the inform John Quinn, and TILSITT and the latter, who is almost the outsider of the whole field in the opening salvos gets the each way vote.
First Impression ran a cracker when third at York earlier in the month carrying 10st 3lbs and drawn out on the wing in stall thirteen. He looks sure to run a big race and would be carrying an additional pound from the weekend.
Tilsitt is well drawn and has finished out of the first three just once in 11 starts at Ayr. He goes on all ground and is only 3lbs higher than when scoring over C&D back in June. Rob Hornby takes over in the saddle for the first time for local trainer Mike Smith whose flat runners have pulled up few trees of late although he did have a winner over jumps last week.
Recommendation: Tillsit EW at 18/1 with William Hill 4 places
MONHAMMER will need an end-to-end gallop back over this extended 7f in the finale, but he has a terrific draw in stall one, is ridden by the good 3lbs claimer Harry Russell and is a stone lower in the weights than when finishing last in the mile handicap at this meeting 12 months ago. That was his first start for Linda Perrett having been trained by William Haggas for Shadwell for the majority of his three-year-old season.
Market leader Timbukone is drawn next to the each way selection and went from the front at Musselburgh last time when a beaten favourite. The hope is that he can tow the Perrett gelding – who is related to five winners – into the race.
Recommendation: Monhammer EW at 5/1 with William Hill 4 places
Valley Forge ran a terrific race in the Ebor when you consider he was8lbs out of the handicap and this represents a drop down in grade. He must go close, but I was impressed with the win of THE GADGET MAN at Chester last time over two miles and I feel he can take the drop in trip, and step up in class, in his stride.
The classic generation receive 9lbs weight-for-age from their elders over this trip at this time of the year and that could prove the key for Ralph Beckett’s lightly-raced 3-y-old who has been raised 7lbs for his win on the Roodeye. This is a most competitive contest, but the classic generation have won the corresponding race for the last three years and do note The Gadget Man is entered in the Cesarewitch trial at Newmarket on Saturday.
Recommendation: The Gadget Man at 11/4 with William Hill
The final week of the Racing League this evening and I am looking forward to seeing Schmilsson make his all-weather debut on this slow tapeta surface in the 10f handicap. He is one of a number of horses I could have put up at Newcastle this evening – as was the case at Pontefract earlier in the day.
I am loath to desert the progressive Fresh Hope who did us a big favour over C&D three weeks ago and I am convinced a 3lbs rise is more than fair given I thought she was value for a lot more than the neck she had in hand at the line.
The each way vote, however, goes to bottom-weight DESERT LAND who has improved since the switch in yards to Keith Dalgleish and he still may be ahead of his mark having been raised just 2lbs for scoring over C&D less than a fortnight ago.
The 6-y-old receives 16lbs from the younger Fresh Hope although this is anything other than a two-horse race. Indeed, the whole Racing League has seen good competitive racing for excellent prizemoney and, having been sceptical last year, I feel the 2022 version has been a success.
Recommendation: Desert Land EW at 18/1 with William Hill 5 places
LIR SPECIALE is not one of the stable stars at the Roger Varian yard, but I thought he showed plenty of guts and resolve when scoring at Windsor in week four and a 4lbs higher mark may not prevent him following up on his first tapeta start.
When the selection score at Doncaster back in the spring I thought he could make up into a top-class handicapper/Pattern sprinter and, after just five career starts, that might still be the case. This evening’s deeper surface is an unknown, but he represents an inform classic winning stable and he gets the each way vote.
Recommendation: Lir Speciale EW at 5/1 William Hill 5 places