Ostilio primed for big Ayr Gold Cup run

Ayr & Newbury selections Saturday 18th September

The big day of the year on the flat in Scotland with the Ayr Gold Cup the centrepiece of a strong card on the west coast. I have two each-way hopefuls for the big race, plus selections for two of the chief supporting contests. I also have a best bet for Newbury. We had one selection and one winner at Ayr on Thursday with Chichester an easy winner (advised 9/1).

Ayr 1.55: Maydanny

A listed race but this lacks any strength in depth and this look primed for some each-way thievery with MAYDANNY.

Mark Johnston’s gelding has made his name in valuable handicaps, winning at the past two Glorious Goodwood meetings, including over this 10f trip last year. However he is now rated 105 which means class 1 races are where he is going to need to ply his trade in future. On the face of it his debut at Group 3 level was very disappointing when last of five at Haydock last time. However the usual front-running tactics were dispensed with there and he just seemed ill at ease in a tactical, slow affair.

I am hoping that Joe Fanning will revert to more positive tactics today on a track that lends itself well to pacesetters. He is versatile regarding ground conditions so the overnight rain should not hamper him and he looks well worth another shot back up in trip – he was a fine second over 9f at Newmarket in the spring on his only attempt beyond a mile in 2021.

Newbury 3.25: Aramaic

This valuable handicap looks set to be fought out by the unexposed types at the bottom of the weights, but ARAMAIC certainly makes by far the most appeal.

He was actually beaten by Mo’assess at Kempton in July on almost the same terms as today, but that rival looks a one dimensional front-runner at this stage. Aramaic on the other hand looks a resolute galloper who will only improve with time and has already shown a marked improvement when stepped up to 10f at York last time out. He made short work of beaten another of today’s opponents Pivoine that day and a 7lbs rise looks remarkably generous in the circumstances.

Newbury is another track with a long finishing straight that can only play to the strengths of the selection.

Ayr 3.40: Snazzy Jazzy & Ostilio

Whilst I have great respect for the market leaders, Great Ambassador and Commanche Falls, those two are drawn in the lowest two berths and that might not be ideal in a week when the horses have just come straight down the centre. Instead I have picked two horses successful in group company in the past, down in class for less fashionable trainers, but ones very shrewd especially with sprinters.

SNAZZY JAZZY has performed remarkably well, largely at 5f this season, considering all his back form. He was fourth in the City Walls Stakes at York in July at listed level and most recently was beaten 3l over an extended 5f at the same track. With Laura Pearson’s claim, he can race off 98 today, 9lbs lower than when joining the yard this season. He won the Silver Cup here in 2018 on heavy going, so the overnight rain will definitely help him. A stiff 6f is what he wants, having more recently won a group 3 at Maisons-Laffitte and a listed contest at Salisbury and a frenetically run 6f contest should suit him perfectly.

The number one fancy though is OSTILIO who I am sure has been laid out all year for a shot at this. As recently as last October he was rated 108 after winning a listed race at Redcar over 7f, he won a Group 2 on Arc Weekend at Longchamp in 2018 and managed an unusual feat of making all in a 30 runner handicap at Royal Ascot earlier that year.

However his trainer Paul Midgley saw something in him to try and convert him to a sprinter. He failed to beat a single horse home on his first four starts for the yard, but gradually he has been coming to hand as he tumbles down the weights. He flew home over an extended 5f at York last month and then improved again to place fourth in the Beverley Bullet last time out. He copped a 3lb rise for that, but that was enough to get him into the field here and I am sure that a fast run 6f will bring out the best in him. Given his proven stamina it can only help that the ground has eased to make this a bit more of a test.

Ayr 4.15: Dance Fever

This is a classy looking handicap, and one that can go the southern raider DANCE FEVER.

A staying on second at Ascot on his last attempt at a mile back in 2020, he has been successfully campaigned over 7f this season, winning at Leicester in July. He then went on to finish third in the International Stakes at Ascot where the emphasis was on stamina, but could never get involved in a steadily run affair at Goodwood last time.

He will surely be better suited at a mile now, especially given this sharp track won’t take too much out of him and bring his tactical pace over shorter to the fore. He remains relatively unexposed and could be suited by a potential burn up with the likes of Shelir, Maries Diamond and Cruyff Turn surely going to ensure a proper gallop here.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Maydanny – 1.55 Ayr – 11/2 general

1pt win – Aramaic – 3.25 Newbury – 100/30 William Hill, BetVictor

1pt each-way – Snazzy Jazzy – 3.40 Ayr – 40/1 William Hill (1/5 odds 1st 7)

1pt each-way – Ostilio – 3.40 Ayr – 10/1 Skybet (1/5 odds 1st 7)

1pt win – Dance Fever – 4.15 Ayr – 4/1 general


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