Friday, 19 September 2008

Ayr Western Meeting 2008 - Day One

The Western Meeting commenced with the going reported as Heavy following the wet weather of recent weeks. Normally I’d be a little wary of the form recorded in the tough conditions, but I reckon there might be one or two interesting pointers to come out of the meeting.

2.20 6f 2yo Maiden

A run of the mill maiden, won comfortably by the most exposed of the bunch. KYLLACHY STAR was hard at work a couple of furlongs out, but picked up nicely to win with a bit to spare. There may be a novice event for this one, but it’s more likely to be handicaps.
FRONTLINE GIRL ran a decent enough race, staying on for second.
The most interesting one here was MOHAWK RIDGE, nibbled at long odds in the market, who started slowly but picked up nicely in the final couple of furlongs to finish third. I presume this one will step up in trip and there should be a race to be found.
LIBERTY TRAIL was always struggling and seemed to hate the conditions.

2.50 1m 2yo Novice Stakes

Four runners here, three with winning form and the fourth ROMANTIC INTERLUDE looking very slow.
The pace set by TALE OF SILVER was decent enough given the small field and conditions. The leader picked up nicely two out to see off the challenge of Guestofthenation. He’s progressing nicely and was given a good ride by P J McDonald.
GUESTOFTHENATION found the winner too good, but stuck on to hold the third, although his odd head carriage in the closing stages perhaps adds a cautious note. AAHAYKID in third couldn’t muster the pace to challenge and will probably benefit from longer distances in time.

3.20 5f 53-68 Handicap

A moderate level sprint, though there were enough in form to associate some merit to the form.
This was GRIMES FAITH’s first run in heavy ground and it was clearly no hindrance. Having been prominent from the start he was more able to keep up the gallop than the others. He’ll presumably get put up a few pounds for this. He may score again while the turf remains soft, but it’s significant that he’s only rated 60 on the All-Weather and may be well placed to exploit that mark.
ALMOST MARRIED never looked likely winning but progressed late for second. He’s got every chance of a win this autumn if moved up to six furlongs.
LAKE CHINI couldn’t offer enough in the final furlong under a penalty and could well be held now after two wins. WITCHRY stayed on from the rear for fourth.
WICKED WILMA hung for much of the way, and this apparently caused her saddle to slip and thus any chance she had disappeared. She’s better than this.

3.50 1m 2f (Class 4) Seller

A better than average selling contest, the front three finishing clear of the remainder.

SHE’S OUR LASS, the 1/2 favourite, seemed likely to take command two out, but couldn’t get away from her challengers. She was held close home. Retained by means of a friendly claim, she’s in foal to Guineas winner Cockney Rebel, and now retires to the paddocks.
80/1 chance JIM MARTIN gave it the works in the final quarter mile and just got his head in front close home. His trainer Linda Perratt describes him as, but on this evidence he as ability to win out of selling company if he wishes. It may be significant that this is the first time he’s run in testing conditions.
RESONATE didn’t seem to do too much wrong and was a head second. He tried hard enough and as a 10yo his best chances will continue to come in sellers and claimers.
The rest were held, although ULYSEES departed after three furlongs, unseating after colliding with the running rail.

4.20 1m 2f 78-92 Handicap

ALLIED POWERS relished the conditions, forging clear from 2 furlongs out and there’s more to come form this one, I suspect.
BLUE SPINNAKER ran a better race than of late, staying on for second without getting to the winner. WIGWAM WILLIE raced prominently but had no answer in the final furlong and a half.
BEST PROSPECT stepped up considerably on recent form, staying on from the rear and giving hope of a win in the near future.
ELLA WOODCOCK led early but went out like a light and was reported as not suited by the heavy going.

4.50 1m 3yo 54-66 Handicap

GRIT, fast away but then steadied, came to lead a furlong out and forged clear from RED SKIPPER, but may find the rise in the weights will make things tougher. RED SKIPPER ran well enough and may be favoured by a drop to seven furlongs.
The most significant run here probably came from seasonal debutant IBROX. He stayed on eye-catchingly from the rear for third and it would be no surprise if he makes up for lost time this autumn. Bear in mind from a value point of view, particularly if he runs in Scotland, that a goodly percentage of the Scottish sporting public wouldn’t back this one under any circumstances.
TAMASOU battled with Ibrox for fourth, having similarly come through from the back.
A number of those prominent early, NATURAL RHYTHM, TALON and DARING DREAM had nothing left in the last two furlongs. On that basis GRIT’s effort could be regarded of extra merit since he was prominent all the way.

5.20 7f 50yds 61-73 Handicap

KEYS OF CYPRUS has had training problems but is making up for lost time, the six-year-old taking his record to 4 from 7. Given that he entered this race on a mark of 63 plus a 6lb penalty, and that he forged clear readily, it’s not beyond the imagination that his trainer will place this one to win a couple more before year end. Evidence suggests he’ll handle a higher class than this.
NOK TWICE was slowly away, but stayed on from the rear to take second. Given that the winner is apparently better than this class, then Nok Twice might be expected to win before long.
BLINDSPIN was another putting in his best work at the end. NINEFINEIRISHMEN was up front until headed by Keys Of Cyprus and, though battling hard, couldn’t muster any extra reserves in the final furlong. He’ll find less tough assignments.

Note - If anyone tells you this meeting is called 'The Ayr Gold Cup Meeting' then please put them straight, it's the Western Meeting!

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