Absolutely So primed for Gold Cold Cup glory
As heavy rainfall and floods blight various parts of the country, thoughts are with those trying to cope with these extremes of conditions. Racing seems trivial in the context.
74mm of rain fell at Newbury Thursday night into Friday morning and although there will specialist horses who thrive ground, I’m concentrating on the wonderful Western Meeting at Ayr which includes both the William Hill Silver and Gold Cup and all the debate and discussion on the drawn that attaches itself to it.
The card opens at 2pm with some talented two-year-olds. Fair play to Stormy Clouds, who will be going into the stalls for the 11th time this season, she will cope with the soft conditions. Initially I was leaning towards Partitia, having been taken by her last two wins. However her sire is Bated Breath, and he avoided soft ground.
Ralph Beckett had a great Doncaster St Leger meeting and, in addition, has saddled three winners from his last four runners.
Then she encountered good to firm going at Newmarket in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes. Favourite on that occasion she could only muster sixth behind Roly Poly, but was only beaten three lengths. Back on a softer surface, Bletchley can resume winning ways.
The Ayr Gold Cup looks set up to be a thriller, so much pace drawn low with Watchable in stall 3 and Brando in stall 8 while towing the high numbers along could well be last year’s third in Hillbilly Boy in stall 24.
Does this mean it’s set up for those coming from behind or can those in front hang on?
I’ve reduced 25 to a shortlist of four - Absolutely So, Growl, Brando and G Force.
The value has gone and I’m not sure how he will act on soft but he has to be in the combination forecast as in my opinion the stalls have to fail to open to stop him putting in a bold show.
Brando has been good all season, although his elevation to Group 1 in the Nunthorpe was a step too far this season. Give him time - it might not be next year.
Still he won’t want to get in a battle early with Watchable. He proved at York he can run on from off the back and if he hits the front two out, he might just stay there.
Twelve months ago G Force finished fourth in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, having won it in 2014.
I wasn’t alone thinking he had a squeak in the Stewards’ Cup but he finished plum last.
Last time out, though, he ran third to The Happy Prince at the Curragh. That form has worked out so could G Force be coming back? Somebody thinks so as he has plummeted to as short as 10-1 from 33-1.
As for my main pick, I will side with joint top weight Absolutely So.
He can handle the ground and has a very light campaign , finishing a superb fourth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last time.
Drawn badly, he only had Outback Traveller, Brando and Glen Moss ahead of him. Brando is 9lb worse off and Glen Moss 3lb - and that’s before Rob Hornby’s allowance is taken into consideration. He can sit to the fore just off the pace and hopefully pounce late. Fingers tightly crossed.
Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday tips
Ayr 2.00 Bletchley
Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday pointers
1.45 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes
Second Step has won both his races at Newbury
Eight of the last ten winners derived from the first three in the betting
Roger Charlton and Sir Michael Stoute have trained the winner twice
Six of the last seven winners finished in the first two on their most recent run
2.00 Ayr William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes
Three of the last five winners had run in the Ripon Champion Two Year Old Trophy
The last favourite to win was Violette back in 2005
Only two of the last 11 winners have been Newmarket-trained (2005 Violette & 2015 Shaden)
Eight of the last 11 winners had had at least three starts
All of the last 11 winners had run twice
Eight of the last 11 winners had run in at least Listed class
Bryan Smart has won it twice from just three runners
2.15 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes
Nine of the ten winners came from the first three in the betting
Nine of the last ten winners had run in at least Group 3, three of them had run in the Prix Morny
Richard Fahey and Karl Burke are both attempting their third win in ten years
2.35 Ayr William Hill Ayr Silver Cup Handicap
Only two winners have been aged older than five (2011 Cheveton, 2013 Ancient Cross) (today those older than 5 are An Saighdiur, Hoofalong, Louis The Pious, Blaine, Intibaah, Ninjago, My Name Is Rio, Avon Breeze, Shipyard)
Only two favourites have won (2007 Utmost Respect, 2009 Kaldoun Kingdom)
Since 1992, 11 winners have been drawn 20 or higher, only 7 drawn 7 or lower, 16 have been drawn in double figure stalls
Richard Fahey has won the race three times in ten years today he saddles Nuno Tristan, George Bowen and Stamp Hill
2.50 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Handicap
William Haggas has a 43 per cent strike rate in September
Nine of the ten winners were aged either 3 or 4
Luca Cumani has won the race four times from his last ten runners (2010 Forte Dei Marmi, 2008 Presvis, 2007 Monte Alto & 2004 Spuradich) today
Eight of the last ten favourites have been beaten
Nine of the last ten winners derived from the first six in the betting
Seven of the last ten winners were drawn 7 or over although the last three derived from stalls 1, 2 and 5
3.25 Newbury Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes
Eight of the last ten winners finished in the first three on their most recent run.
Eight of the last ten winners came from the first three in the betting
Five of the last six favourites have won
Eight of the last ten winners ran at Royal Ascot that season
Richard Fahey won eight of the 23 races at the meeting last year
3.10 Ayr William Hill Supports Clic Sargent Ayrshire Handicap
Only one of the last ten favourites have obliged
Eight of the last ten winners drawn in single figures
The horse drawn in stall 8 has won on any ground on six occasions since 1990
The only single figure stalls that have produced the winner since 1988 are 2, 6, 7 & 8 with the latter being the most successful
Kevin Ryan has won three of the last nine
Richard Fahey has won the race twice 2006 Fonthill Road & 2015 Don’t Touch
Karl Burke has won the race twice with Always Alight 1998 and Daring Destiny 1994
Nine of the last ten winners had taken in either the Stewards’ Cup, Bunbury Cup or Great St Wilfrid Handicaps (2010 Redford avoided all three). The pool today who have run in at least one of the above races are Nameitwhatyoulike, Orion’s Bow, Nuno Tristan, Kimberella, Perfect Pasture, G Force, Rivellino, Sir Robert Cheval and Growl.
Six of the last nine winners were drawn 15 or higher
Draw stats are inconclusive as over the last 16 years eight drawn 15 or higher, eight drawn 12 or lower
Seven of the last ten winners finished no better than third on their previous start
Since 1980, there has been only one winner older than six (1993 Hard To Figure). On Saturday are all trying to defy the stat are Ascription, Nameitwhatyoulike, Glen Moss, Jack Dexter, Hoof It and Lulu The Zulu.
Only two winning favourite of the Ayr Gold Cup in the last 30 years, Coastal Bluff 96 and Don’t Touch last year
Coastal Bluff was the last horse to carry top weight to victory (today Absolutely So & Brando)
The last Scottish-trained winner was Roman Warrior back in 1975
Since 2000 the occasions when the draw of the winners of the Ayr Silver and Gold Cup were similar (same side) were 2001 - 17 & 22. 2002 - 24 & 16. 2005 - 1 & 2. 2013 - 26 & 19. 2014 - 27 & 19. 2015 - 4 & 8.