The highlight on Day 1 of the Western meeting at Ayr is the Listed Doonside Cup over 1m2f. Read our horse-by-horse race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Almodovar has the best chance on the figures and is afforded plenty of respect after his good run from the front in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot but Sir Michael Stoute’s lightly raced and very well bred 3yo, ABDON, is fancied to improve past him. The selection beat only four rivals when winning a Class 2 handicap at Haydock last month but the front pair pulled a long way clear and today’s slower ground will also suit. Maleficent Queen was slightly disappointing at Royal Ascot on her latest outing but had looked rapidly progressive beforehand and has already won a C&D Listed event (albeit against her own sex) on softish ground this season. Secret Number has been seen only rarely in recent years and it’s hard to gauge how much ability he retains, but he was very talented in his prime and can’t be ruled out after his latest absence.
1 Almodovar – Impressed in a Class 3 handicap at Kempton (1m3f, AW) on seasonal debut in May and subsequently put in a good front-running shift when third in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot (1m4f, good to soft); readily excused his failure in a Group 1 at York last month and is a major player at this level.
2 Secret Number – Very lightly raced in recent years and been absent since finishing second in a 1m5f Group 3 handicap in Australia last November; will play a significant role if all his ability remains, but he’s a 6yo now and today’s trip is probably shorter than ideal.
3 Maleficent Queen – Progressive filly who completed a five-timer with convincing success in Listed company over C&D (good to soft) in May; takes on males this time and never really got involved at Royal Ascot on her latest outing but further improvement certainly not out of the question.
4 Imshivalla – Useful handicapper who collected a good pot at Epsom (1m2f, good to soft) on Oaks day in June and also ran very well at York (1m, good) the following month; seems to have gone off the boil since then, though, and faces a tough assignment here anyway.
5 Millefiori – Represents in Irish stable with an excellent 13-42 strike-rate at this track and has won four low-grade handicaps (1m-1m1f) since fitted with cheekpieces this season; will be suited by the ground and can probably hit the target again soon but today’s race is a huge rise in class.
6 Abdon – Lightly raced 3yo who is out of a Group 1 winner and comes here after winning a good-quality handicap at Haydock (1m2f, good to firm) last month; that level of form already puts him in the mix here, he should be fine on today’s ground and there’s every chance we are yet to see the best of him.
7 Henry The Explorer – 14-race maiden who was beaten off a BHA mark of 70 in a handicap last month and is out of his depth here.
8 My Brother – Irish-raider who improved significantly upon low-key 2yo debut when 7l winner of Sligo maiden (1m2f, soft) in June but was no match for the winner when second in a small-field conditions race back there last month; remains unexposed but big step forward required to play a part here; cheekpieces now added.
9 Tony Curtis – Non-runner
10 Motdaw – Not very consistent but produced new career-best performance when winning Class 2 handicap at Haydock (1m2f, good to soft) 12 days ago; more will be needed to trouble the form principals here but she has a very realistic chance to gain some valuable “black type” at some stage.
myracing Forecast Prices: 15/8 Almodovar, Abdon, 5/1 Secret Number, 6/1 Maleficent Queen, 16/1 Motdaw, 25/1 Millefiori, 33/1 Imshivalla, My Brother, 100/1 Henry The Explorer