2-50 DUBAI DUTY FREE HANDICAP – 1 M 2 F 6 YDS
What About Carlo is still well handicapped on the best of his old form and his win last time out at Epsom will have its knockers. It was only a three runner race, however he pulled over three lengths clear of far more fancied rivals and his confidence will have taken a boost from that. He won’t mind any more rain and unlike most of his rivals, he has only had a handful of runs so far this year. George Baker takes over in the saddle and with Eve Johnson Houghton back amongst the winners of late he has to be respected.
Cymro has won three of his last six starts and is another who likes to get his toe in. All three of those wins have come at this trip and following the devastating loss of Brown Panther at The Curragh last week, Tom Dascombe certainly deserves a welcome change of luck. Richard Kingscote knows him inside out and the duo look formidable opponents. Burano is a previous course and distance winner who has won at this grade in the past. He too is still rated below his highest winning mark and his run behind Imshivalla last time suggested he was coming back into form. Amanda Perrett would not send him all this way if he didn’t have a chance and he looks a viable each way alternative.
What About Carlo looks set to have his ideal conditions this afternoon and unlike so many of these rivals he comes here in good heart. There are also doubts about many of the runners acting on the likely soft ground and there will no doubt be withdrawals before the race. He should be capable of going close in a race of this nature.
3-45 WILLIAM HILL AYR GOLD CUP – 6 FURLONGS
Tanzeel found the company far too good when upped to listed class at York last month. He finished in the mid division behind Fadhaayil and Speculative Bid on that occasion. The extra furlong that day also didn’t help, so a return to six furlongs and a top grade handicap should prove the perfect remedy. Paul Hanagan and Charlie Hills have decent strike rates at this track and they combine here with the four year old for the first time since June. Paul Hanagan has won twice before on this son of Elusive City and with all of his best form coming on decent ground, conditions should be fine.
Buckstay landed a valuable handicap on his latest start at Newmarket when seeing off the challenges of Flash Fire and Tamayuz Star. He is trying this trip for the first time in his life today but connections must be hopeful of him being quick enough to have him entered. If coping with the drop in distance he has the assistance of Fran Berry in the saddle and it could prove a shrewd bit of placing by Peter Chapple-Hyam. The ground looks to have gone against the talented Heaven’s Guest but he was a good fourth in this race last season and may have to make do with a similar placing today.
Tanzeel is still unexposed at this trip and has only had eight career starts to date. There should be more to come from him and he could well prove too strong for this field of veteran handicappers.
3-50 BETFRED CESAREWITCH TRIAL STAKES (HANDICAP) – 2 M 2 F
Big Easy was a decent runner up in this very race last season and only found See And Be Seen a neck too strong. That effort came following a similar break and he then went on to win the main event in the Cesarewitch itself a few weeks later. A useful dual purpose performer the eight year old has stamina in abundance and has won at distances of up to three miles at Cheltenham. He is only four pounds higher in the ratings since his last win here at Newmarket and he is once again partnered by Tom Queally.
Sands Of Fortune is one of the least exposed runners in this line up and he won a competitive handicap at Goodwood back in July seeing off no fewer than eighteen rivals. He was left alone out in front on that occasion and had the others toiling in his wake as his stamina began to kick in. If he is allowed to dominate here today, it could well be a case of déjà vu. Low Key has made a favourable impression since joining David Pipe last year. He has won his last two starts over hurdles and comes here with fitness on his side. This is his toughest looking assignment to date though and his stamina has to be taken on trust.
Philip Hobbs has a good record in flat staying handicaps and this is more than likely being used as a stepping stone towards a repeat bid for the Cesarewitch in a few weeks. Big Easy should be fit enough to do himself justice and it wouldn’t be the biggest of shocks to see him staying on best when all of his rivals have cried enough.