Just the six line up for the feature race at Ayr today for this Class 3 handicap hurdle with £5,848 on offer for the winner. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: This looks a fairly open race with a few of these in with a chance but it’s best to concentrate on Back To Baracka and MORNING ROYALTY. Both are on tempting marks now reverting back to hurdles but the James Moffatt charge just shades the vote. He was a decent third behind a horse that has franked the form over fences since and is of big interest today under Brian Hughes who has had a stellar season so far. Lucinda Russell’s’ horse should go well but his form last year is slightly off putting for win purposes and he can follow the selection home.
1 Desert Cry – Put to bed a losing streak stretching back three years when a ready winner at Bangor (Soft) on his last start. Up 10lb for that win and still looks to have scope from this mark given he has won from 4lb higher but strike rate is off putting and not one for maximum faith at present given he was well beaten from a similar mark a year ago.
2 Isaacstown Lad – Won four times over hurdles last season up to 3m1f on deep ground. Returned from a seven month break in November to finish third of 8 at Bangor (Soft) behind a useful winner who has gone in again since and should have come on for that run. Didn’t land a blow last year in six runs and still 7lb above his last winning mark. One to note in the betting.
3 Morning Royalty – Hasn’t won in this sphere since 2012 and looks to be a better chaser these days. Won at Cartmel (Good) over 2m5f in May and finished third of 14 behind the useful Gino Trail (second behind Buveur D’Air two days ago). That was a good second run after a break of five months and could be telling that connections persist with him over hurdles given he is 10lb well-in. Should have no problem with the conditions and is a big player under Brian Hughes.
4 Only Orsenfoolies – Hasn’t won since May 2015 and largely disappointing on the Flat this year since being pulled up at Catterick (Soft) in January over the minimum trip. Belied his 50/1 odds when finishing runner up at Doncaster (Good) in November over 2m3f but only fifth of 13 at Wetherby (Soft) on Boxing Day tried over further. Has conditions to suit but others look to have stronger form to win this and likely to struggle again.
5 Pistol – Won back to back handicaps at Carlisle earlier this year in deep ground and has struggled put up 18lb since the start of those wins. Only third of 6 on return from a 284 day break two weeks ago when twenty six lengths behind the winner and should come on for that run today but probably needs the handicapper to relent before he wins again and hard to fancy in this line up.
6 Back To Baracka – Scored over fences at Ayr (Good/Soft) at the start of last term over 2m4f but largely out of sorts in 2016. That won came off a 20lb higher chasing mark and on a tempting mark now back over hurdles. Needs to prove he can be as effective in this sphere given his last few runs and has solid place claims if everything clicks today.