AYR – Saturday June 20th
Going – Good To Firm
Race distances on the round course were increased by 10 yards due to rail movement.
There was a very decent card for Land Of Burns Stakes Day. The type of race for the Land Of Burns Stakes has changed over the years, the most recent renewal a five furlong race for fillies.
2.25 1m 81-100 3yo Handicap
A very competitive contest to open the card where none of the nine runners could be counted out on initial analysis. In the event the race was won very cosily but a very interesting prospect in FIREBET. Ridden to join issue at the two furlong pole, FIREBET only needed to be nudged out once he led before the furlong marker and won readily. He looks plenty good enough to make an impact at Listed level or higher, and will not be inconvenienced by a step up in distance.
TIGER REIGNS kept on after the winner to take second and is another progressive sort. There was a suggestion he didn’t see out the extra quarter mile at Redcar last time, but he must surely pick up a handicap at a mile on this evidence.
PEKING PRINCE was held up and didn’t figure significantly until picking up late on for third. He was moving up from 0-75 which is a big ask and just found it beyond him. However, there’s plenty of scope for a drop back to a lower level off a current mark of 78, and the way he finished suggests a longer trip would prove no problem.
BIG APPLE BOY set a decent pace but couldn’t offer any more once passed two out. Form so far suggests he is held on a mark of 84.
2.55 5f 'Land Of Burns' Listed Fillies’ Stakes
This race was one by Tommy Stack’s SUGAR FREE who looks a really nice filly and is capable of mixing it at Group 3 level. She led a furlong out and ran on for victory.
Stack’s options at home in five furlong contests are rather limited since there are only two five furlong Pattern races run in Ireland, and neither are fillies’ only. Her target may be a 6f Group 3 event at York, though my impression is that Stack may be better seeking opportunities at the minimum trip.
CITY DANCER ran a creditable race in second, keeping on but not getting to the winner. She should find handicap opportunities at the minimum trip off 95, and can cut it at Listed level.
ROTHESAY DANCER isn’t good enough to win an event like this, but a canny ride by Kelly Harrison ensured a third place finish. She couldn’t go the early pace but Harrison was patient and allowed the filly to pick her way through late on. Harrison gets on really well with Rothesay Dancer and she’s one to look out for back in handicaps provided the handicapper doesn’t take this form literally.
JARGELLE couldn’t dominate like she had done when second at Sandown. She was a spent force a furlong from home.
3.25 1m 4f 76-95 Handicap
I’ve praised the tactical nous of Danny Tudhope before and he once again showed his ability to create opportunities ‘on the hoof’ by quick thinking. He settled GORDONSVILLE at the rear, but with no great pace on Tudhope encouraged his mount forward to lead after five furlongs. He didn’t relinquish the lead after that and battled determinedly to see off a persistent runner-up.
GORDONSVILLE has not been a prolific winner despite consistency over his career, but he’s decent when things fall for him. I reckon these days this trip is about his minimum.
DOLLY PENROSE didn’t do much wrong in second. She has only won one race to date but her trainer sends horses north on a regular basis and should find an opportunity.
MASTER AT ARMS looks handicapped to his level. His best opportunities will come when conditions suit and MASTER AT ARMS seems best recently over longer trips on Polytrack.
ALEATRICIS has been a steady improver but may have found this class off 83 a little tough being held from two out.
4.00 6f Class 5 2yo Maiden
Not a great maiden but GHOSTWING could do no more than win with a great deal to spare. Richard Fahey knows the time of day with his youngsters and this one should be placed to advantage in stronger company.
BENRISH looked very green and was flat-footed from the gate. He picked up late on as he got the hang of things and should learn from the experience. A step up in trip would do no harm.
4.35 6f 51-70 Handicap
These sorts are regularly seen racing against each other in Scotland and the North of England.
MAISON DIEU is a frustrating soul and needs things to fall right. The impression I get is that he is suited by challenging late between horses. His run was blocked recently at Hamilton, but on this occasion things opened up a he led half a furlong out. He’s ‘Placepot material’ but one I’d tend to oppose in the win market.
HANSOMIS continued in good form being run out of it inside the final furlong. She remains in good form and doesn’t look weighted out of contention yet.
GLASSHOUGHTON picked up late to finish third. He’s not a prolific winner, but has won off much higher than his current mark and he goes better on easier ground.
JUST FOR MARY put up his best performance for a while, running on in fourth place and running to his level.
5.10 5f 66-85 Handicap
The tongue-tie was reapplied on LE TOREADOR, perhaps indicating a breathing problem when down the field at York. He led or disputed all the way and held on close home. He won’t go up much for this and may be capable of scoring again, particularly while the ground remains fast.
ARTSU was held up in the rear and picked up late, though not quick enough to get up. He’s best when held up, but by the nature of these races needs things to fall for him and backers need to ensure the price gives enough leeway.
NICKEL SILVER was up with the pace from the start but just run out of it late on. This is probably about as good as he is on turf, and he may be worth a go back on the Polytrack if a suitable 0-90 could be found.
STEELCUT looks held off a mark of 79.
STOLT ducked down as the stalls opened and was left seven or eight lengths. In the event he did very well to come through the field to take fifth. He’s capable of taking a race in this class if behaving himself.
5.45 1m 2f 56-75 Handicap
SHY GLANCE was settled following a decent pace. He led two out and held on, but wouldn’t want to be too much higher in the handicap.
RED SKIPPER has dropped back to his winning mark after a number of below-par runs. His strike rate is 1 from 20, his win being over 7 furlongs, though he saw out this trip well and might just be suited by this distance.
WEE CHARLIE CASTLE went close first time and picked up late form the rear here, getting there just too late. A trip to the winner’s spot seems only delayed.