Saturday’s Action: Minalisa and Alben Star each-way options in the Ayr Gold Cup
Top sprint handicaps are one of the most enjoyable attractions in the flat calender and they don’t come much better than today’s Ayr Gold Cup at 3.50. Enjoyable they may be from a spectators view but from anyone trying to get involved on a punting level, they can become a hair tearing experience.
27 sprinters will line up for the dash to the finish today and as well as ground concerns and draw bias, the inevitable traffic trouble makes handicaps of this nature nearly impossible to figure out. Of course with the large prices available just putting on pennies can result in a nice reward and it always pays to have more than one dart in your hand.
I have taken two out of today’s Ayr showpiece that I hope can multiply my pennies at decent prices, despite both being given tough draws which can be oh so important.
First up, Alben Star will have to deal with a difficult draw in stall seven and will also have to give away a lump of weight to many for Richard Fahey and Jack Garrity. Garrity’s 5lb claim is a big help however and Fahey’s charge has been slowly coming back to the boil of late, culminating in a fine performance at Newmarket last time where he finished just 1/2 length behind the 115 rated Tropics.
As stated, the draw and weight is worrying but Alben Star has a race of this nature in his locker and, if getting a clear run, can at least grab a place at a nice price of 16/1.
At an even bigger price Minalisa has been slightly overlooked in my view for Rae Guest and Fran Berry. 25/1 looks a big price for a mare that was a very impressive Listed winner at Naas back in July under today’s jockey. That was a career best effort and with the runner-up that day, Tobann, having ran a cracker in the Group 1 Matron Stakes last week, a step back to the handicap sphere should be well up Guest’s mare’s alley.
The fact that she still holds an entry in a Group 2 at Ascot next month shows the regard in which she is kept and if nothing else, it is interesting that she lines up at Ayr today. The draw (2) is a big worry but she is a classy type and if things work out well for her she can be a big player at a generous price.
By Kevin Walsh 20/9/14
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