TORRENTIAL rain in the build up to last season’s Ayr Gold Cup forced its abandonment because of waterlogging and organisers of this year’s race will be looking nervously at the forecast once again.
The track has been drenched by recent downpours and with more rain in the air, tomorrow’s race (3.50pm) looks likely to be run on heavy ground.
Irish raider Son Of Rest heads the betting at 6/1 with Coral on the back of an incredible run in last weekend’s Group One Flying Five at The Curragh.
He was only just touched off by Havana Grey and a repeat of that effort will make him hard to beat off a mark of just 101.
However, even though he has plenty of form on a soft surface, the best of his runs have come over the minimum trip, so six furlongs on this ground represents a very different test.
Growl, runner-up when favourite for this race two years ago, has been holding his form all season without getting his head in front.
He lines up off the same mark and must go close now that the rain has arrived.
Perhaps the only negative surrounds his price and for that reason I’d rather look elsewhere.
Tim Easterby, who does so well with his sprinters, has yet to land this valuable prize but has decent chances of rectifying that with Flying Pursuit, Staxton and GOLDEN APOLLO who all love it when the mud is flying.
My preference is for the latter who has caught my eye on ground that has been too quick for him on both his last two starts.
He only just failed by a neck to beat Flying Pursuit, who he meets tomorrow on 1lb better terms, at York back in July.
Things didn’t go to plan when a well beaten favourite on good ground at Ripon next time, while the drop in trip on better ground again in the Portland Handicap last Saturday also didn’t play to his strengths.
He did all his best work late on at Doncaster and conditions will be much more to his liking tomorrow.
At 14/1, he looks a decent each-way bet in a race where the ability to stay further than six furlongs is also crucial.
For that reason, I can see the argument for Muntadab, but the fancy prices about him have long gone and he may just lack the gears for this.
My final dart at the board is ICE AGE who again ran well in Ireland last weekend.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s five-year-old was in tremendous form this time 12 months ago and has run well over further than six furlongs on bad ground.
He has found things tougher from his revised handicap mark, but his shrewd trainer has booked the services of talented apprentice Scott McCullagh who takes off a valuable 7lbs.
That effectively means that Ice Age is racing from a mark of 98 and the 25/1 on offer simply looks too big to ignore.
Looking for other mud larks declared to run at Ayr tomorrow, and I’m interested in Michael Bell’s FIRE BRIGADE in the mile handicap (2.00pm).
He’s only 5lbs higher in the weights now than when a ½ length second to Addeybb in last season’s Silver Cambridgeshire and he caught the eye when third at Doncaster last Saturday.
Conditions will be right up his street tomorrow and he looks a cracking each-way bet at 7/1.
The Firth Of Clyde Stakes (3.15pm) will be a brutal test for the two-year-old fillies at this stage of their careers with plenty set to hate conditions.
Glass Slippers looks one of the more likely to cope with the ground, but she has been well found in the market in recent days.
I’m prepared to take a chance on the once-raced SUMMER DAYDREAM who bolted up on heavy ground last week.
She did so in a real eye-catching manner and her ability to handle the conditions makes her worth supporting each-way at around 14/1.
I’m prepared to take a chance on the once-raced SUMMER DAYDREAM who bolted up on heavy ground at Carlisle last week.
Keith Dalgleish’s two-year-old couldn’t have been much more impressive considering it was her first ever career start.
Her ability to handle the testing conditions makes her worth supporting each-way at around 14/1.
Fire Brigade e/w 2.00pm Ayr
Summer Daydream e/w 3.15pm Ayr
Golden Apollo e/w 3.50pm Ayr
Ice Age e/w 3.50pm Ayr