5.30pm Can’t rest on our laurels! Spent a couple of hours this morning doing my preparatory research for four Ante Post races I hope to blog sooner rather than later, the coral.ie handicap chase and hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday 22nd January, the SkyBet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday January 28th and the highly competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on 11th February and all with one eye on those delicious handicaps at Cheltenham in March. May have spotted a few likely candidates.
So it’s upwards and onwards and let’s have a look at a Heavy ground card at Ayr tomorrow.
Ayr 2.20 CLAN LEGEND 12/1 PP 11/1 BetFred
Ayr 2.55 KILBREE CHIEF 9/2 general
Ayr 3.30 PLUS JAMAIS 11/2 general
Ayr 4.00 PIKARNIA 6/1 PP 11/2 general
and here’s why
Ayr 2.20 CLAN LEGEND Quite happy to take on this odds on favourite, Starchitect. In neither of his two runs over the larger obstacles has he looked a natural chaser. Add to that he’s trained by David Pipe who is having a very quit season, down on runners, down on winners. Likewise I’ll pass a 9yo trying fences for the second time having failed miserably in three attempts over a year ago even if Gordon Elliott now trains it and the masterly Jack Kennedy rides it. I’ll go with the top one, Clan Legend, who has won five out of his last seven including hacking up on his chasing debut in a novices handicap off OR118. The downside is the seven pound penalty but he has heavy ground form, is a son of Midnight Legend and is trained by the Alexanders nearby and ridden by Lucy.
Ayr 2.55 KILBREE CHIEF When he won a C4 handicap over course and distance on heavy ground a year ago he carried 11st 12lb so the grade, weight, trip, ground and course aren’t an issue. Blair Campbell claiming 7lbs could be? Never heard of him, he’s 7 from 48, but in Lucinda Russell/Peter Scudamore we trust. This is a competitive heat with some solid in-form handicappers and possible improvers but Kilbree Chief has it in the book and just a touch of class.
Ayr 3.30 PLUS JAMAIS Main reason he’s the selection is the fact that Brian Hughes rides him! Helped by the fact that the horse is a solid jumper, has won on Heavy and all his three race wins have come at Ayr. Hate going against the Sue Smith/Danny Cook combo, Dark Darsie, and the rest don’t look too progressive. I note that young Blair Campbell rides the top weight here, for the Alexanders this time.
Ayr 4.00 PIKARNIA There is nothing in the formbook to say this horse has any chance, hasn’t got within fourteen lengths of the winner in five attempts despite respectable form figures of 33643! However he goes handicapping for the first time, wears a tongue tie for the first time, is ridden by Brian Hughes who rode him last time and is trained by the much respected Rebecca Menzies who is nine winners from her last forty runners. Indeed Brian Hughes is four from nine this season for the trainer. John Wade owns the horse and Ms Menzies trains from John Wade’s old yard!