Race Time: 3.10pm Meeting: Ayr Distance: 1m 2f
Full Race Name: William Hill Doonside Cup (Listed Race) Class One
As if to try and make our lives that bit more complicated, the better horses declared here are also declared elsewhere, so we will just have to look at this race individually as it stands and then correct it once we know the final line up. We cannot see why they would drop Eagle Top (NR) down to Listed grade so we do not expect him to participate and he is also engaged at Newbury, but Top Notch Tonto (NR) will hopefully head here for the Brian Ellison yard. He is certainly dropping in class if he arrives here, having raced in Group class in six of his last seven races, and was a superb second to Custom Cut when last in action at Leopardstown in the Group Two Boomerang Stakes last weekend, and a repeat of that effort would make the five year old the one they all have to beat here, with any cut in the ground possibly an added bonus. As you may have noticed in other previews, we do keep a careful eye on all the William Haggas runners as he keeps improving his string year on year, and if he allows Mutakayeff (2/1) to take his chance then the four year old should be a very serious contender. Eight races to date have seen him finish second no less than six times with one third and a maiden victory at Sandown on soft going over this trip in May 2014. The son of Sea The Stars has only had the one run all season when (you guessed it) second at York to Mondialiste, with the winner franking the form in America last weekend, and as that made it three places in Group Three events, he should fare even better dropped in class to this Listed race on Saturday. Likely to improve for his first run in nine months, he has rock solid each way chances as far as we can see and we await the prices with interest to help us to make our final decisions.
We are, as you will have guessed, assuming that Eagle Top runs at Newbury (he is declared for both races), as he would be the most likely winner by some way if he does turn out on the day, but for now our next option will be Exosphere (4/1) who has already had a good season with wins at Lingfield, Doncaster, and Sandown, but he is yet to step outside of handicap company and may find this a bridge too far – or could just lap it up and go on form here in what is now a weaker looking race following late withdrawals. A well built son of Beat Hollow, he certainly looks the part and you never know how good they are until they try but using the form book as our guide, his recent win over Mount Logan would be enough to give him chances in your average Listed race, but he has been pretty unlucky when you look at the caliber of opposition here though we would be anything but surprised were he to run in to a place for jockey Ted Durcan. Scottish (11/2) is officially the best of the younger contenders here, all be it by a solitary pound for trainer Andrew Balding with his rating of 108. Just the one win from six starts doesn’t tell the whole story as he has also placed second behind Highland Reel in the Group Three Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood while his last run was when fifth, beaten over five lengths by Siljan’s Saga at Deauville in a Group Two over a mile and a half where he pulled way too hard and appeared not to get the trip. Hos one and only victory was at this mile and a quarter trip so he could be better served this afternoon, but we do just get the feeling he is inclined to find one or more too good for him and cannot win today? To end with, Dermot Weld is not a trainer to ignore without good reason with his record over the years, and he sends Manalapan (14/1) over the Irish Sea, which has to make him worthy of further investigation. One glance at his form makes you wonder why he is running here with all his recent races over twelve, thirteen, and even fourteen furlongs, leaving him short of the speed expected in these events, though if Dermot thinks he deserves his place in the line up, then who are we to argue?