No soft Touch with Fahey’s gelding
Steve Hughes looks ahead to the final and biggest day of the biggest Scottish meeting of the season at Ayr
The Ayr Gold Cup is the centrepiece of today’s entertainment and I have a few goes at the big race. I also have two selections in the supporting races. Theglasgowwarrior was placed for the each-way bet yesterday (advised 8/1).
Ayr 2.00: Irreverent
Irreverent bounced back to form when winning at Thirsk last time, confirming he stayed the mile trip perfectly well. I think he can make it four wins for the year with first time cheekpieces to potentially sharpen him up.
He already has a win to his name at this track back in June, and his Thirsk win confirms a liking for sharp left-handed tracks. He is drawn wide today, but a couple of non-runners eases that issue somewhat. He is still somewhat unexposed after only ten starts and trainer Richard Fahey has an excellent recent record at this meeting.
Ayr 3.50: Buffer Zone, Good Effort & Arecibo
I suspect all the horses will come down the centre here so I don’t think the draw will play to much of a part. However the unusually fast ground for the time of year at Ayr does mean that early pace is likely to last. I have three horses with the tactical speed to cope.
Buffer Zone looks a worthy favourite after a convincing win in a similar contest at the Curragh last week. That was his third excellent run in big field handicaps at the track and Ayr also favours prominent racers on fast ground. Trainer Ger Lyons hit the jackpot in the Ebor last month and it looks significant he sends this 4yo over for another big pot. He has clearly found the key to this horse who showed ability but temperament in equal measure for Roger Charlton in his earlier days.
I also want two each-way bets for insurance and Good Effort might excel in this sort of contest. He showed reasonable form over 7f and a mile, but might just be best suited to a fast 6f. He was a cosy winner on his first start at the trip at Newmarket last month. He was too free in a slowly run listed contest at the same track last time, but he should get plenty of cover to help him settle from his middle draw and a strong pace that looks guaranteed will suit.
Arecibo is difficult to win with but he has shown several times that a big field handicap suits. He was fourth just last week in the Portland at Doncaster and was previously third at York. He is the pick for Danny Tudhope of David O’Meara’s five and whilst he does find it difficult to get his head in front, he looks rock solid each-way.
Ayr 4.25: Another Touch
We have only seen Another Touch once in 2019, but that was a fantastic effort, and having been given a chance by the handicapper and coming into this nice and fresh, he looks a decent bet.
That one run this year was in the John Smith’s Cup where he was a fine fourth in that valuable handicap at York. He raced off 95 that day, his lowest mark since his 3yo days and he has even been dropped another pound for today.
He won a listed contest at Pontefract in 2017 and that rather ruined his handicap mark for last season. He was not up to marks of over 100, but 94 he can definitely cope with and he is fresher than most at this advanced stage of the year.
0.75pts each-way – Irreverent – 2.00 Ayr – 9/2 general
1pt win – Buffer Zone – 3.50 Ayr – 4/1 Bet365, Paddy Power
0.5pts each-way – Good Effort – 3.50 Ayr – 28/1 Bet365, (¼ odds 1st 5)
0.75pts each-way – Arecibo – 3.50 Ayr – 10/1 general (Skybet, William Hill, Paddy Power 1/5 odds 1st 7)
1pt each-way – Another Touch – 4.25 Ayr – 9/2 Bet365, BetVictor
Next column – Sunday 5th October – Arc day at Longchamp