Haydock have stepped in to save the Ayr Gold Cup this weekend and there’s a couple of decent bets on today’s seven-race card, writes CHARLIE CROASDALE.
With the ground currently soft - heavy in places - Tom Dascombe’s Porchy Party should prove hard to beat in the JW Lees Bitter 1828 Nursery (3.55).
The two-year-old got off the mark in nurseries three starts ago at Carlisle and followed up in impressive style at Chester a fortnight ago in heavy ground, forging clear under Ben Curtis.
A 6lb rise for that success doesn’t look too excessive and plenty of cut in the ground may just be the key to unlocking further improvement here.
I’m taking a leap of faith with Colibri in the Watch Racing UK Anywhere Handicap (5.05) but there’s reason to believe Hugo Palmer’s talented three-year-old can land this 14-runner prize.
Colibri landed a Brighton maiden last September with supreme ease, before running a cracker in April’s Esher Cup at Sandown, half a length behind winner Atty Persse who is now rated 102.
Subsequent defeats at Ascot and Newmarket off a mark of 93 saw Palmer’s charge travel well on both occasions but unable to quicken on firm ground, and was last seen when fourth at Newmarket when well-backed.
Now able to drop into class three company for the first time since handicapping Colibri shapes as though a mile on soft ground will be ideal, and with Palmer’s yard going well (15 winners in September) the gelding can record an overdue success under Jack Mitchell.
Down at Newmarket there’s a terrific card and Amabilis might just be the answer to the British EBF Rosemary Stakes (1.50), a listed contest for fillies over a mile.
Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old comfortably landed a class two event at Chelmsford on her return in June after a 236-day break, and after a poor run at Goodwood she produced a really impressive display earlier this month to land a good contest at Ascot, travelling supremely well and drawing clear in the style of a really good filly inside the final furlong.
Amabilis gets weight off all her older rivals and while she’s joint highest-rated out of the three-year-olds here, there looks to be scope for even more improvement back on a sounder surface.
Mustashry was a good winner of the Group Two Strensall Stakes at York and can follow-up in the Shadwell Joel Stakes (3.35).
Sir Michael Stoute’s four-year-old put up a smart timefigure when winning at Chelmsford and backed that up with a visually impressive display at York, travelling like the winner before putting the race to bed a furlong out.
As is the case with Stoute’s middle distance performers, this bay colt looks to be firmly on the upgrade and can deliver another authoritative success today.
Switching to Saturday, The Cambridgeshire Handicap (3.35) is always a great spectacle and I fancy Naval Warfare to run a huge race in this 30-runner cavalry charge.
Andrew Balding’s three-year-old made all to land a class two affair at Newmarket on August 12 and, raised 6lb for that effort to 98, he should sneak in here towards the bottom end of the weights.
The bay colt ran with credit last week when fourth in the Fortune Stakes at Sandown and that should put him cherry ripe for tomorrow’s assignment.
I’d be very disappointed if Naval Warfare is out of the frame and could land a 16/1 surprise.
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