Ayr Gold Cup: Eight clues to help pick the winner
Dandy Nicholls has won this race six times since 2000
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) How to pick the winner of the Ayr Gold Cup
By Jack Haynes 7:16PM 16 SEP 2016
Picking the winner of the 25-runner Ayr Gold Cup may seem like an impossible task, but these eight factors should help you narrow the field
1. Low draw advised
The two races over the Ayr Gold Cup distance of 6f at the track on Friday suggested a low draw is favourable despite both groups racing near the middle of the track.
In the nursery, the first three home were drawn in stalls 4, 3 and 2, while in the Bronze Cup, the first three of 24 runners were drawn in stalls 5, 7 and 8.
Runners near the head of the market with low draws for the Ayr Gold Cup include favourite Growl (stall 6), Jack Dexter (stall 5), Nameitwhatyoulike (stall 4) and Brando (stall 8).
2. Proven with cut in the ground
Horses with form on ground on the easy side of good will go well in this 25-runner sprint. Brando, Aeolus, Hillbilly Boy, Nameitwhatyoulike, Jack Dexter and Lulu The Zulu all enjoy ease in conditions.
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3. Ryan and Nicholls boast strong records
Ignore sprint kings Dandy Nicholls and Kevin Ryan at your peril.
Ryan has won this race in three of the last nine years, courtesy of Advanced (2007), Our Jonathan (2011) and Captain Ramius (2012) and saddles joint-topweight Brando, Teruntum Star and Flaming Spear – with the last two named arriving fresh following mid-season breaks.
Since the turn of the millennium, David Nicholls has won this sprint handicap six times, including a hat-trick of wins between 2000 and 2002. Nicholls runs Orion's Bow and Kimberella, who have been regulars in leading sprint handicaps this season.
4. Lucky 19
Two of the last three winners have been drawn in stall 19, while Highland Colori ran well from that draw when sixth last year. Ed Walker will be hoping the trend continues with Aeolus.
5. Course form
Two of the last three winners had previously finished second in big sprint handicaps at the track. Louis The Pious, winner two years ago, was second in the race the year before, while Highland Colori, scorer in 2013, was a short head second in the Silver Cup in 2012.
Poyle Vinnie was beaten half a length when second to Don't Touch last year and returns off a 4lb lower mark, while Jack Dexter and Watchable are the two course and distance winners in the field.
6. Winning partnership
Pat Smullen and Kevin Ryan teamed up to win this race with Captain Ramius four years ago and they will be hoping history repeats itself – this time with Teruntum Star.
The four-year-old won well on good to soft at Newmarket on his reappearance and arrives fresh after enjoying a 139-day lay-off since finishing eighth at the same track in early May.
7. Pace on both sides
There appears to be pace amongst those drawn 20 and above but there is no obvious angle with two front runners also berthed in low stalls for the feature sprint handicap. Hoof It (stall 7), Magnus Maximus (21), Nameitwhatyoulike (4) and Hillbilly Boy (24) all led last time, while Kimberella (10) and Rivellino (15) also tend to race prominently.
8. Big day for an apprentice?
Oisin Murphy enjoyed a landmark day as a 5lb claimer when winning this race aboard Highland Colori three years ago, while William Carson jr, also claiming 5lb, shone on the big stage when steering Regal Parade to victory in 2008.
5lb claimer Adam McNamara, who celebrated Ebor success aboard Heartbreak City last month, partners in-form sprinter Nameitwhatyoulike, while Rob Hornby, claiming 3lb, rides joint-topweight Absolutely So, 5lb claimer Hector Crouch is on board Aeolus and Nathan Evans, taking off 5lb, once again steers Stewards' Cup consolation race winner Hoof It.
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