AYR – Saturday June 23rd 2012
Going – Good (Good to Soft from Race 5)
Ayr provided a decent support card on Royal Ascot’s last day. Given that so many top performers had been aimed at the big meeting down south the quality of the main races on the card held up very well.
The west coast avoided the worst of the rain and, though I drove through rain most of the way en route from Dunfermline, the ground had only eased slightly to ‘good’ by race time. A downpour spanning the fourth and fifth races eased the ground to ‘good to soft’, but the track was in decent nick.
My attempts at selecting on behalf of The Racing Forum, My Girl Anna's close second in the feature being rather galling. My steam driven phone struggles to cope with the internet, but thanks are due to TRF’s David Cormack, busy himself at Royal Ascot, who relayed my selections to Twitter.
1.55 5f Scottish Sun Miss Scotland Handicap (82-93)
The finish of this race featured two seven-year-olds, one of whom is making significant progress, and a three-year-old who really caught the eye and can become a force in similar event.
BOSUN BREEZE has been noted recently as a progressive sort and handled the step up to Class 3 level very well. He looked a picture in the paddock and made all the running, having sufficient pace in hand to assert approaching the final furlong and won cosily eased close home. David Barron will be seeking a quick opportunity for a gelding that seems to remain ahead of the handicapper.
HAZELRIGG, who wears a combined blinkers and gauze eyeshield set, was near the pace all the way and stuck willingly to his task if meeting one too well handicapped for him. He hasn’t won since autumn 2010, and isn’t a prolific winner, but he’s putting it all in now and should be rewarded before long.
Most interesting here would be JACK DEXTER, outpaced early but finishing with a rattle for third place. This is the toughest task he has been presented with to date but acquitted himself admirably. The experience will do him good, and a move back up to 6 furlongs would help.
TAX FREE ran a sound race in fourth but the ten-year-old is penalised for his consistency and gets little respite from the handicapper. I’m sure his trainer would welcome a drop from 93 down to 90 or less since that would at least give a chance to tilt at 0-90 handicaps where his class might hold sway.
Connections comments were that KINGSGATE CHOICE ‘ran alright’ to take fifth place, but he’s not won off a mark as high as the 90 he ran off here. He’s won 2 out of 4 on the all-weather and his mark of 81 suggests that opportunities on Polytrack might be worth eyeing up.
BRONZE BEAU ran with protective pads on the inside of his hocks, presumably due to a tendency to rub his legs together when in action. He’s better off higher weights in Class 4 races, but is a good deal higher than his highest winning mark. He raced in touch until giving way from the furlong pole.
2.25 5f Scottish Sun Land O’ Burns Fillies’ Stakes
A decent contest with a very nice bunch of fillies on show
ANGELS WILL FALL showed up well as a two-year-old and has made sufficient progress to make her mark in the Pattern contest. She started slowly and was keen early on, but moved sweetly through the field to hit the front two out and had enough in hand to hold a determined effort by the second. She was third in the Cheveley Park and should make her mark in a slightly better grade this year at 5 or 6 furlongs.
With few options for Irish fillies’ in sprint Pattern company in Ireland this race is now a target for Irish trainers. MY GIRL ANNA came here off the back of a fine second in listed company at Cork last weekend. Held up in touch and going very well two out, she made her effort approaching the furlong pole, closing the winner down stride by stride. Only a head behind a Group 1 placed filly tells what a decent effort this was. I suspect Muredach Kelly will be scouring the Irish and BHA Programme Books for opportunities for this tough and consistent five-year-old mare.
EXCELETTE put in decent work in the closing stages and ran to her form. She’s an out-and-out speedster, best at the minimum trip on fast ground.
DUCHESS DORA was held by Excelette at Haydock, but was nearer to her best here. She couldn’t match the principals from the furlong marker. She put in some good efforts in handicaps which have seen her rise to a stiff mark of 101, but her recent wins have been in Class 3 and her efforts at Listed class read 5642054.
ALBANY ROSE is a nice looking filly but was comfortably held from two out. She had a good run last year before getting ‘caned’ for a five length win at Windsor. She’s been thereabouts in competitive handicaps and that’s where her best chances lie.
CELERINA disappointed in first time blinkers and Tommy Stack reported that she ‘raced too keenly’.
2.55 1m Scottish Sun On Sunday 3yo Handicap (79-90)
This looked a decent event and should yield future winners.
ARDMAY had won twice over seven furlongs before this and Kevin Ryan’s progressive gelding comfortably saw of a 6lb rating rise and a step up in trip. He led two out and had the race in safe keeping in the final furlong, though swerving towards the stands’ rail close home, and was in command at the line. He hasn’t finished winning yet and seemed ever better at this trip.
SATANIC BEAT made a determined attempt to make all, keeping on once headed at the furlong pole. He will remain competitive, particularly when favoured with quick ground.
BASSETERRE, a, fine strong animal was ridden confidently from the rear and made his challenge from two out, but couldn’t peg back the winner if keeping on to the line. This was his toughest task to date, but he should benefit from the experience and can make his mark at this level in time. He’s another who may have preferred a slightly quicker surface.
JUST FABULOUS stayed on but couldn’t get to grips with the first three. She would have a chance in a fillies’ only handicap around this trip.
The Mark Johnston pair were disappointing. ASSIZES was held from two out, and ABISHENA, a superb looker in the paddock, went out like a light two out having raced up with the pace. A watching brief is advised of the pair.
BACCARAT, looking plenty fit enough after a short break, was never going and connections could offer no explanation. A winner at York last time, he’s surely better than ninth place here suggests.
3.30 1m 5f 13yds STV Appeal Handicap (72-92)
The rain hit just before this contest and turned conditions rather miserable for the next 45 minutes. With the start in front of the stands I would normally have gone across to listen to the jockey’s banter and watch the action at the start, but regrettably the rain made me wimp out!
A field of largely exposed performers and the race was won by a consistent performer from the all-weather. REEM STAR has only won over a mile before, but she’d seen out a longer trip at Wolverhampton and was sent on in a decisive move two furlongs out by Amy Ryan, the latter currently riding at the top of her game. Reem Star has only once been out of the first four in eleven races, and that on her debut, so it could well be that she will kick on to further success.
CAPE RISING raced prominently and led three out, but was held from two furlongs out though keeping on stoutly. Given time by Alan Swinbank, he’s been thereabouts in most of his seven races and there will surely be a staying race to be found before long.
BLUE DESTINATION kept on but made no impression on the first two. His best performances have been at Class 4 level.
THE BELLS O PEOVER showed up menacingly on the outside three out but the effort petered out at the furlong marker. He’s been tried over a variety of trips, various going and even on snow at St Moritz last winter, the latter on going described as ‘frozen’! He’s devilishly difficult to pin down form pattern wise, but his last two efforts suggest he’s returning to something like his best and he has won off a similar mark to his current rating.
BOLLIN GRETA lost ground at the start by rearing, and runners went tanking into the first bend before throttling back down the far side. The mare worked her way into the race two out but the told, though this was an improvement on her seasonal debut and hints at better to come.
Hurdler come chaser BEIDH TINE ANSEO must have been wondering where the jumps had gone. He raced prominently until fading in the final two furlongs.
4.05 6f Sunsport EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)
There was some reasonable previously from pitched up against some interesting newcomers. Although a Class 5 contest, this may prove to be quite decent. I struggled to make much judgement on these in the paddock, the runners appearing in a string for one circuit, then were mounted and off to the start.
David Barron will have a fair handle on his two-year-old string, the standard set by Ahern who ran respectably after a slow start at Ascot this week. From a brief glance the gelding TICKLE TIME seemed ready enough to perform well first time up, and thus it proved as he was always prominent and proved too strong in the final furlong. He looks to have enough about him to progress from this.
ELNADANCER, more stoutly bred than the winner, stayed on well without seriously threatening. This was a promising debut for one who is likely to show to better effect over a longer trip. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win a race before long.
NORDIKHAB is a nice looking sort, perhaps a bit green in the paddock on what little I saw of him close up. He certainly seemed a bit edgy for his debut, was keen early on and couldn’t make an impact on the winner in the final furlong.
A brief chat with two of the connections of BONNIE LESLEY suggested disappointment with fourth place here, particularly after a decent second at Musselburgh, and she was comfortably held by the first three from two out. However, this may prove to a decent race and Bonnie Lesley will have chances once the nurseries start next month.
Robert Winston found LUCKY BEGGAR pulling fiercely for his head early on. He made the decision to come the stands’ side, presumably on the basis that he would be better served against a rail. Having blazed a trail to approaching the furlong marker he faded quickly. At the moment a sharp five furlongs looks the best option as he just wants to hurtle along.
Keith Dalgleish’s CORTON LAD has some filling out to do and seemed rather weak. He was outpaced early on and will need time.
4.40 6f Weatherseal 3yo Handicap (64-80)
This contest should provide decent pointers to the future. The winner SHOW FLOWER is a progressive filly not yet in the grip of the handicapper. She responded to Paul Mulrennan’s urging two out and won just a shade cosily.
DSICRESSION is yet to win but put in a decent effort on his sixth start. Always near the pace, he put in an effort approaching the furlong pole but found the winner too good. He’s eased in the handicap and is on a nice mark.
Definite eyecatcher here was seasonal debutant DUTCH HERITAGE. A winner at 2, he seems to have done well over the winter, though looked as if the race would do some good. On that basis a fast finishing third was notable after a slow start. He won on ground with a little cut at Thirsk last term and it shouldn’t be long before he wins a race.
Lambourn challenger WEST LEAKE HARE was held from the furlong pole and may be better on slightly faster ground, while ROCK CANYON couldn’t cope with 2 grade rise in class.
TAKEALOOKATMENOW went well for four furlongs in front but was eased once headed and reported as having lost her action.
5.15 1m 2f Peoples Ford (67-85) Handicap
There was a nasty fall for Royston Ffrench as KING OF WINDSOR stumbled at the half furlong marker when looking destined for third. Ffrench was shaken but walked away, while his mount was none the worse, this run hinting at a return to form.
COOL McCAVITY led two furlongs out and ran on well to hold off a persistent challenger. This is his class as his current record in Class 4 reads 311, and he’s struggled in Classes 2 and 3. The chance is that he’ll be forced into a higher class if rising a few pounds for this win.
RED INCA, bandaged on his hind legs, bustled up the winner in the closing stages but couldn’t get past. The rain will have helped as he has shown his best with cut in the ground, and looks poised if the wet weather stays with us.
SHAMARLAY was well held in fourth when inheriting third, but is steadily easing into form while dropping down the ratings.
Consistent THE LOCK MASTER has been thereabouts in lower class with cut in the ground. He was held from two out on this occasion, but against softer opposition will go close.
SANTEFISIO threatened two out, but he needs quick ground and his effort soon petered out. If the sun appears for a length of time he will find opportunities.