Timeform assess the Ayr Gold Cup favourite and give their verdict for Saturday's race in Scotland.
Ayr Gold Cup - 15:40 Ayr
Focus on the favourite
Mr Lupton (8/1)
Mr Lupton may now be a seven-year-old but he has looked as good as ever recently, building on an encouraging third in the Great St Wilfrid when scoring at the Curragh last weekend. Mr Lupton had been on a long losing run which stretched back to May 2019, but that didn't deter punters from sending him off favourite at the Curragh, and he justified that support by winning by half a length. He has an obvious chance on ratings under a 5 lb penalty - he is 2 lb off top-rated - and it's worth noting that he has run well before on the back of a quick turnaround. He was well beaten in this last year, though he didn't arrive in anything like such good form, and he deserves to be right towards the head of the market.
An outsider to consider
Another Batt (16/1)
Another Batt, the only course-and-distance winner in the field, developed into a smart handicapper when with George Scott and notably landed a decent prize at Meydan in January 2019. That proved to be his only win last year, and a move to Richard Hughes’s yard failed to lead to an upturn in fortunes. His handicap mark did fall as a consequence, however, and he was able to cash in on his first start for David Barron at Thirsk last month. Another Batt wasn’t in the same sort of form at Leopardstown last weekend, but it’s worth noting he was sent off at only 5/1 for a competitive handicap, and he definitely has the ability to make an impact from this mark, which is only 3 lb higher than the rating he defied at Thirsk
A stat to note
Kevin Ryan has won the Ayr Gold Cup three times since 2011
Kevin Ryan has a fantastic record in the Ayr Gold Cup, winning the valuable prize with Our Jonathan (2011), Captain Ramius (2012) and Brando (2016), and he saddles three this year. He can count Wokingham winner Hey Jonesy among his team, but according to the market his best chance is with Bielsa (12/1). Bielsa has failed to meet expectations on three outings this year, including last time on his first start since undergoing a wind operation, but he is on a fair mark based on last year's form, when he won four from five. Others are preferred on this year’s efforts, however.
Mr Lupton has an obvious chance on the back of last weekend’s win at the Curragh, while impressive Portland Handicap winner Stone of Destiny is another who makes plenty of appeal from a handicapping perspective (he tops Timeform’s ratings). In contrast, Nahaarr needs to bounce back from an underwhelming effort in the Stewards’ Cup, but the fact he was sent off at just 3/1 for that ultra-competitive handicap gives an indication of just how impressive he had been previously. The performance he produced when winning at Newbury was that of a smart sprinter and he can prove as much here under man-of-the-moment Tom Marquand. A top price of 17/2 about this unexposed four-year-old is fair.
Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:
- 121 Stone of Destiny
- 120 Nahaarr
- 119 Mr Lupton
- 119 Saxton
- 118 Another Batt
- 118 Soldier's Minute