Always a tough handicap to call with just the one wining favourite in the past decade and even harder to preview with the top weights hoping to get in to the Ayr Gold Cup instead. It’s a tough race to call as it is every season but Irish raider An Saighdiur (28/1 Each Way) carries top weight here and is the class act in this massive field. A nine-year-old son of top sprinting sire Acclamation in training with Andrew Slattery and to be ridden by Billy Lee, he last won at The Curragh in mid-August but more importantly handles any cut underfoot as proven by a heavy ground win at Sligo the race before. Although we cannot suggest he is well handicapped, he stays further and has an awful lot in his favour in a race that seems sure to be run at a suicidal early pace, he can run on through beaten horses and get to the front where it really matters to land our bets.
Although he is getting better and better horses in to the yard and competing at higher levels trainer David O’Meara is still associated with big handicaps and he will be running Intisaab (8/1) here, though his consistency has been his own enemy and he remains on a high enough handicap mark. His last seven races have seen two wins and five seconds including behind new Bidder at The Curragh last time out, and although he may not win you cannot knock his consistency and he ought to be there or thereabouts once again today.
With Saeed Bin Suroor getting back to form Kickboxer (22/1) deserves at least a mention and crucially has form on softer going unlike many of his rivals. Admittedly he hasn’t won since September 2014 in a total of eight races but he seems to have had his problems and the fact that Godolphin even keep him in training suggests he still has a win or two left in him or they would have undoubtedly passed him on to pastures new. Last time out he was only eighth to Growl but that horse is in the Ayr Gold Cup with a solid each way chance and trying to give the winner three pounds was unsurprisingly beyond him.
As we say every week (because it’s true), trainer Richard Fahey likes nothing more than a Saturday winner on the television and he has Stamp Hill (18/1) in here as he looks to shrug off a penalty for winning last time out at Doncaster over a furlong further. He is another who won’t mind any further rain and a fast run race and with Adam McNamara taking a useful five pounds off his back he is another with a solid each way chance.
To end with we have the well backed George Bowen (14/1) who is also in the Fahey yard but with stable jockey Tony Hamilton on board. He needs to turn around Ripon form with Roudee on four pounds better terms for three lengths and needs a career best off a rating of 93 but the money is down which suggests either connections think he is improving or the bookies are running scared of the Fahey stable.