Following a 8/1 winner, Steve Ryder has three selections for Friday's racing.
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PROJECT DANTE (best priced at 7-2) is top rated in this listed race and should prove hard to beat having been dropped in class from Group 2 company. He was a rare debut winner for Bryan Smart earlier this season at York before finishing a slightly unlucky 3rd in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was only beaten ¼ length by subsequent Prix Morny winner Perfect Power that day despite not getting the clearest of runs before flying home to finish 2nd of the nearside group.
The son of Showcasing could only finish 10th of 11 in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket last time but it is a race well worth going back and watching. He raced far too keenly in the early stages fighting for his head until Graham Lee allowed him to lead after a furlong in that 6f contest. Amazingly, despite that early expenditure of energy, Project Dante was still in contention 1f out before weakening late on under tender handling. This drop back down in trip to 5f will be perfect for him and I expect him to prove extremely hard to beat in this listed race.
The William Haggas trained NUANCE (best priced at 7-4) has progressed on each of his three starts and this son of Frankel should prove hard to beat on his handicap debut. The Cheveley Park Stud owned colt finished 4th on debut at Haydock over 6f before improving for a step up in trip to 7f on his next start when 3rd behind the now 99 rated Mr McCann and 107 rated Triple Time and in front of the 88 rated La Pugla and 101 rated Modern Games.
Following a victory at Chester last time, the handicapper has given Nuance an opening mark of 87 which looks extremely lenient based on his previous two runs as last time he beat the now 101 rated Prosperous Voyage by ½ length. He looks incredibly well handicapped off a mark of 87, handles good to soft ground and should be able to capitalise on his handicap debut off top weight.
Despite now stepping up from a Class 4 handicap into Class 2 company, I don’t think PEARL OF QATER (best priced at 33-1) deserves to be such a big price in this race. The five-year-old mare has won twice over this course and distance this season off marks of 70 and 77 and has now dropped back down to her last winning mark.
Pearl Of Qatar finished 6th behind the favourite Call Me Ginger at Hamilton beaten 3 ¾ lengths but gets an 8lb swing in the weights here and the Tristan Davidson trained mare will appreciate the return to Ayr. With up to seven places available on the Ayr Bronze Cup, I expect her to outrun her odds and hit the frame.