It’s a Saturday of speed with the Ayr Gold Cup the highlight of a strong card at the Scottish track, while two-year-olds do battle at Newbury in the Mill Reef.

Here are Nick Luck’s fancies.


Today’s trip and ground look ideal for JUAN ELCANO in the TV opener (1.55pm) on Ayr Gold Cup day. He is a smart horse when he gets it together, as he proved when he excelled himself at Ascot and when going down narrowly at York, a track which I previously thought he hadn’t excelled over. While he isn’t a big price at 11/8, now dropped in grade, he can again get the better of the redoubtable Euchen Glen.

Next up is the Ayr Silver Cup (2.30pm) and I think UNCLE JUMBO looks an enormous price. He was threatening to go the wrong way when we last saw him, but he’s been given a nice long break since that one bad run in headgear and has been cut a bit of slack by the handicapper. He now has an eleven-pound pull with Bickerstaffe from their running at Pontefract earlier in the season too. He looked as though he should be at least up to this on two-year-old form, and it must be worth taking a chance each-way at huge odds of 50/1.

SNOOZE N YOU LOSE runs in the Firth Of Clyde (3.05pm) and was the recipient of some very encouraging noises from Karl Burke on my podcast earlier this week. Having reviewed her Nottingham win, I can see why. Inside the last furlong, she had everything off the bridle while appearing not to be doing anything quickly, using her long stride to good effect. Still green, she then did very well to mow down the strongly fancied Serenity. The form has been nicely advertised, and this one-time Lowther entry is well worth a try at this level, with odds of 25/1 offering plenty of value.

While the 25-runner Ayr Gold Cup (3.40pm) is a race where plenty of luck is required, I have great confidence in SUMMERGHAND’s chance of landing another massive pot. First, he looks to have a nice draw in 22 placing him neatly to track the obvious pace of Just Frank (18) and Mr Wagyu (16). He is a tremendously strong finisher at 6 furlongs, and the speed-favouring Haydock Sprint Cup never really gave him a chance last time. Prior to that, he had slammed Tabdeed, giving him 5 pounds, with far greater authority than Great Ambassador’s win over that same horse at level weights. The ground doesn’t seem to have come for many of the leading fancies, but Summerghand will have no such issues. He looks an outstanding each-way bet at 14/1.

REVICH makes a bit of appeal in the subsequent race (4.15pm) at around 12/1. He’s had a slightly frustrating season, but this is his time of year and he’s down to near his last winning mark. You can forget Chester last time, when he missed the break and raced wide, and he looks well placed in stall one round this easy mile. Perhaps most significantly, his two best efforts this season have come under today’s rider, Angus Villiers, who remains a steal for his claim.


The Group 3 Sprint at Newbury (2.15pm) looks a tight affair, but the bet at the prices must be MOSS GILL. Ed Bethell has reached for the blinkers in place of cheekpieces, and they’ll only need to eke out a tiny bit more. He ran extraordinarily well behind Winter Power two starts ago before facing an impossible task in the Nunthorpe. Conditions should be ideal and he’s closely matched with King’s Lynn from earlier in the season, yet is a much bigger price at 7/1.

The form of the now-gelded Al Aasy is not quite as gilt-edged as it looked when he was winning here in the spring and I’m happy to watch him win at odds-on in the Legacy Cup (2.50pm). However, for those in search of an alternative ILARAAB might not be the craziest idea of a bet at 8/1 against his much vaunted stablemate. With first-time cheekpieces applied, you can be sure that the Haggas team will want Ilaraab to be in the heat of the race sooner than has been the case lately, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lead them deep into the race.

KING LEONIDAS can win at 8/1 on his comeback in the ten-furlong handicap (3.25pm). He is an imposing horse who has clearly had his share of physical issues. He looked smart on his first two starts last season and ran very respectably in last year’s Jersey Stakes considering it all happened a bit quickly for him. This stamina test should be much more suitable.

While Gubbass has a higher rating I make DHABAB a good favourite in the Mill Reef (4.00pm). The strength of the Superlative Stakes is open to no question given the subsequent exploits of Native Trail and Masakela, and the selection had them all off the bridle before not quite seeing it out. There was no disgrace in that, and a return to a flat six should be right up his street. 9/4 looks a fair reflection of his chances.

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