Ayr Gold Cup: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Buffer Zone winning
Buffer Zone is a strong favourite for the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup and pick out their 1-2-3...

"Running consistently well and threatening to win soon..."

Timeform on Arecibo

1. Mr Lupton (Richard Fahey/Sean Davis (3))
Smart performer at best, who won Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh (by three quarters of a length from Speak In Colours) in May. Well below form subsequently, however, but will be suited by a strong pace in a big field, and isn't completely handicapped out of this.

2. Major Jumbo (Kevin Ryan/Tom Eaves)
Smart performer who won listed race at Chester (by three and a half lengths from Rock On Baileys) in August, but below form when four and a half lengths seventh of 11 to Hello Youmzain in Sprint Cup at Haydock last time, fading in final furlong. Speedball who likes to be ridden prominently, and faces tough task to make all in this field.

3. Bacchus (Brian Meehan/Colm O'Donoghue)
Won Wokingham Stakes (Handicap) at Royal Ascot in 2018. Off 8 months (usually goes well fresh), but well held in latest renewal of Wokingham Stakes last time, and not seen since. Still, not completely ruled out given record in big-field handicaps, and connections have gone for a positive jockey booking.

4. Buffer Zone (Ger Lyons/Colin Keane)
Well-made gelding who won at the Curragh (by short head from Twenty Minutes) in June, and resumed progress when also winning 24-runner event there last time by one and three quarter lengths from Make A Challenge, leading over a furlong out and staying on well. Well-in turned out under a 5 lb penalty here and looks a worthy favourite. Big player.

5. Laugh A Minute (Roger Varian/Rossa Ryan)
Won minor event at Doncaster in 2018, and finished fourth in listed race at Leicester (two and a half lengths behind Hey Gaman) in April. Produced rare poor effort when well held on handicap debut at Hamilton last time, beaten over a furlong out, but that run too bad to be true, and this strong traveller will be well suited by the demands of this race.

6. Hey Jonesy (Kevin Ryan/Kevin Stott)
Respectable efforts first four starts this year, notably when half-length second of four to Marie's Diamond in minor event at Haydock in July. However, below form when eight lengths twelfth of 23 to Raising Sand in International Stakes (Handicap) at Ascot last time, and needs to bounce back now.

7. Summerghand (David O'Meara/David Nolan)
Won five times in 2018, and proved at least as good as ever when two and a quarter lengths second of 17 to Dakota Gold at Ripon last time, keeping on but no match for winner. That form has been boosted since, and this likeable and consistent performer is entitled to give another good account.

8. Gunmetal (David Barron/Oisin Murphy)
Very progressive handicapper in 2018, winning at Thirsk, Newmarket and Ripon. Struggling for form this time around, though, and while he looks on a fair mark, and has Oisin Murphy booked to ride, he looks a risky betting proposition as things stand.

9. Justanotherbottle (Declon Carroll/Zak Wheatley (7))
Workmanlike gelding who won at Sandown (by short head from Tinto) in August, but below form when four and a half lengths tenth of 22 to Oxted in Portland at Doncaster last time. Being kept busy, but looks in handicappers grip now.

10. Air Raid (Jedd O'Keeffe/Jack Garitty)
Smart handicapper who won at Hamilton in June (twice) and July (by one and a quarter lengths from Lake Volta). Well below form last time, seemingly unsuited by the firmer ground, which is a slight concern here (all best form on soft/heavy).

11. Merhoob (John Ryan/Ben Curtis)
Won at Wolverhampton in February and Chester (by length from Copper Knight) in May. Excuses when eight and a half lengths ninth of 10 to Major Jumbo in listed race at Chester last time, left poorly placed, and ought to be better suited by this test.

12. Intisaab (David O'Meara/Angus Villiers (7))
Now 4 lb below his last winning mark and returned to form when one and a quarter lengths third of eight to Enjazaat at Doncaster last time, keeping on well in the closing stages. Has won over C&D and seems sure to make another bold bid.

13. Stone of Destiny (Andrew Balding/P. J. McDonald)
Useful performer who won handicap at Ascot (by nose from Final Venture) in August, and finished respectable four and a quarter lengths eighth of 14 to Swindler in handicap there last time, unable to sustain effort. Looks up against it here.

14. Angel Alexander (Tom Dascombe/Richard Kingscote)
Took advantage of a lenient mark when winning at Windsor in June, and Chester also in June and July (by six lengths from Gabrial The Saint). Quickly back to form when length third of 11 to Powerallied at latter course last time, keeping on well. Progressive three-year-old who may not have reached his limit yet. Respected.

15. Good Effort (Ismail Mohammed/Paul Mulrennan)
Won at Newmarket (by two lengths from Count Otto) in August, and shaped as if still in good form when six lengths eighth of 10 to Raucous in listed race at same course last time, both keenness and being carried off his line contributing to a fairly tame finish. Could still have more to offer back in a handicap.

16. Gulliver (David O'Meara/Jason Hart)
Won at York (by one and a half lengths from Growl) in June, and better than result when one and three quarter lengths third of 24 to Buffer Zone at the Curragh last time, left with lot to do after meeting trouble but finishing strongly. Weighted to get much closer to that rival now and shouldn't be underestimated.

17. Arecibo (David O'Meara/Daniel Tudhope)
Good-quartered gelding who won at Ayr (by neck from Harome) in July, and finished good length fourth of 22 to Oxted in Portland at Doncaster last time, just paying late on for having worked across from towards the far side to get to where the pace was down the centre. Running consistently well and threatening to win soon, and has to be high on the shortlist.

18. Cold Stare (David O'Meara/Robbie Downey)
Useful handicapper who produced career-best effort in first-time tongue strap when winning 15-runner event at Haydock last time by two and a quarter lengths from Lord Oberon, suited by emphasis on stamina. Faster ground here and absence since a slight concern now in this better race.

19. Staxton (Tim Easterby/David Allen)
Useful handicapper who won at Newcastle (by one and a half lengths from Cosmic Law) in June, but below form last two starts, and needs to bounce back now. Interesting if strong in the market, though, given connections.

20. George Bowen (Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan)
Useful handicapper who won at Kempton (by one and a quarter lengths from Raucous) in March. Potentially well handicapped now 6 lb below last winning mark, but has been well below form of late.

21. Soldier's Minute (Keith Dalgleish/Joe Fanning)
Won at Kempton in March and York (by three lengths from Wentworth Falls) in May. Has faced some stiff tasks since, but hasn't fired since, but the handicapper is relenting and no surprise were he to bounce back here.

22. Barbill (Mick Channon/Nathan Evans)
Compact colt who finished fifth in Hackwood Stakes at Newbury (three and a half lengths behind Waldpfad) in July. Shaped as if still in good form when two and three quarter lengths sixth of 10 to Victory Day in handicap at Ascot last time, but this represents a tougher test.

23. Growl (Richard Fahey/Tony Hamilton)
Latest win at Ripon in August. Bit below form sixth of 11 in handicap at Chester last time, finishing with running left. Runner-up in this race in 2016 and still well handicapped on last year's form, so not discounted back up in trip

24. Embour (Richard Hannon/Paddy Mathers)
Tall gelding who won at Kempton in April, Newbury in May and Windsor (by half a length from Equitation) in July. Creditable one and a quarter lengths sixth of 22 to Oxted in Portland at Doncaster last time and another bold show on the cards.

25. Louie de Palma (Clive Cox/Hector Crouch)
Lengthy gelding who won at Ascot (by half a length from Vegas Boy) in May. Weak in the betting when respectable third of 10 in handicap at Ascot last time, but remains with few miles on the clock for a seven-year-old. Merits consideration.

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