The penultimate race of the day at Ayr on Monday is an interesting middle distance chase, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: After two very game efforts the last twice, it is very hard to appose the very game HARLEYS MAX (NR). A determined winner of his penultimate start at Newcastle earlier this month (2m 4f, Soft), he shrugged off a 6lb higher mark despite running at inadequate trip to finish a close second at the same venue last week (2m, Soft). Stepping back up in trip will help massively and runs off the same mark again today, with the ground holding no fears. He’s likely to run another big race and his main danger could be Tap Night, who is dangerous at this level if a change in headgear perks him up.
1 TAP NIGHT – Has raced at a much higher level than this in the past but has been nowhere near his best for a long while now, with his penultimate second at Wetherby (2m 3f, Soft) his only real glimmer of hope of late. Probably flattered by that finishing position that day and was back to more like his usual self when seventh at Musselburgh in December, a long way behind (2m 3f, Good). He is however now 9lb below his last winning mark and if today’s change in headgear prompts some improve he’s dangerous to discount at this level. It is still hard to back him with any sort of confidence though and others certainly come with far less risks attached.
2 NAKADAM – Won three starts ago at Kelso in April (3m 2f, Good to Soft) off a 4lb higher mark than today’s, but has run poorly the last twice at 3m 2f trips in the autumn. Pulling up on seasonal appearance at Cartmel in October, he always in the rear at Sedgefield in November in another dismal effort. Going down in trip doesn’t look likely to suit if judged upon his overall profile and it is hard to make a compelling case for him today. Others readily preferred.
3 THE ORANGE ROGUE – 0-13 over fences and gained his sole win over fences three starts ago in a small field event at Newcastle in April (2m 7f, Soft). Beaten out of sight when fourth of five here earlier in the month (3m, Soft), and is still above his last winning mark. He has questions to answer now down an trip and as a ten year old others do have more scope for progress, so possibly best watched today under Lucy Alexander.
4 LOWANBEHOLD – Beaten a long way on his last six runs over fences and has 13 lengths to find with Harleys Max on a meeting here over 2m 5f back in October. Beaten nearly 20 lengths when never threatening at Kelso in December (3m 2f, Good to Soft) on his latest start. Heavy ground raises a question mark despite being 9lb below his last winning mark and he’ll need the first time cheekpieces to have a drastic effect if he’s to feature today. Others have more convincing claims.
5 HARLEYS MAX – Ran a brilliant race to battle back gamely to win at Newcastle on his penultimate start (2m 4f, Soft) and despite being 6lb higher ran another cracker to finish second at the same venue at an inadequate trip a few weeks later (2m, Soft). Going back up in trip is certain to suit and today’s ground holds no fears. Runs off the same mark as his second one week ago and has to be respected as all signs point to another good run under James Corbett who claims 7lb.
6 DANEHILLS WELL – Not the most consistent but ran well to finish a close second over C&D in December, though pulled up on Boxing Day when last seen at Wetherby (3m, Good to Soft). 0-7 over fences and he’s never raced on heavy in the past which raises another question mark. Others have more pressing claims though if back to near his best its not hard to give him place chances.
7 DINGO BAY – Last seen 678 days ago when with John Wade, pulling up at Hexham (3m, Good to Soft). That is obviously a big concern on his first start for Rebecca Menzies but he’s at his best on heavier ground and has the services of Brian Hughes. He is however 7lb above his last winning mark and it is likely that airing on the side of caution this time around is probably the safest bet.
8 ASUNCION – Capitalised off a basement mark to gain a hard thought win at Market Rasen in December, staying on much the strongest after being outpaced a long way from home and looking a lost cause (2m 3f, Soft). However when raised 3lb he was beaten a long way here (1m 7f, Soft) earlier in the month and faces a very tough task today from out of the handicap. Hard to make a case for him today and likely best watched.