Horse Racing Tips

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

Ayr
The Ayr Gold Cup is the feature race at Ayr on Saturday

"...with the likely strong pace sure to suit he can take another sizeable step forward..."

Timeform on Khanjar

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide and 1-2-3 verdict for Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup.

Ayr Gold Cup
15:40 Ayr, Saturday
Live on ITV4

1. Commanche Falls (Michael Dods/Connor Beasley)
Really game sort who landed the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood for the second year running before posting an excellent second to Summerghand at York four weeks ago. Firmly in the picture off an unchanged mark.

2. Sir Dancealot (John Butler/Paul Mulrennan)
Smart performer but is without a win since 2019 and has been below par in a couple of seven-furlong Goodwood handicaps on his last two outings. Needs a big step forward.

3. Escobar (David O'Meara/David Nolan)
Made a successful return at York in May and has largely run well since, finishing third of five in a mile listed race at Sandown on Wednesday. Drops in trip but not ruled out with the likely strong pace in his favour.

4. Vadream (Charlie Fellowes/Oisin James Orr)
Ascot Group 3 winner last autumn who got back on track in first-time cheekpieces when a head second of nine in a six-furlong listed race at Newmarket three weeks ago. No forlorn hope on her handicap debut.

5. Zarzyni (David & Nicola Barron/Ben Curtis)
Has improved further this year with cheekpieces fitted, winning a five-furlong Musselburgh handicap and finishing in the frame in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and in a five-furlong Ascot handicap. Poorly drawn at York last time so he's much respected.

6. Mr Wagyu (John Quinn/Jason Hart)
Admirable sprinter who has enjoyed another good season, winning at Epsom and the Curragh. Good third in this contest 12 months ago and not taken lightly again.

7. Documenting (Kevin Frost/Jack Mitchell)
Got off the mark for 2022 in a seven-furlong handicap at Newbury in August and wasn't disgraced off a 3 lb higher mark when down the field in a seven-furlong handicap at Ascot two weeks ago. Strong traveller who is one to consider.

8. Summerghand (David O'Meara/Daniel Tudhope)
Gained a deserved win in a big-field six-furlong handicap at York in August and wasn't disgraced in fifth when upped to listed company at Newmarket three weeks ago. Ought to be competitive again under a 5 lb penalty.

9. Volatile Analyst (Keith Dalgleish/Callum Rodriguez)
Course-and-distance winner who won a couple of times earlier this year, but he came last of five in a seven-furlong handicap at Redcar six weeks ago and needs to bounce back.

10. Popmaster (Ed Walker/George Downing)
Finished runner-up in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot in June and was back on song when fourth there two weeks ago. On the shortlist in his bid for a first win of 2022.

11. Bielsa (Kevin Ryan/Kevin Stott)
Has been operating below his best so far this season, finishing a never-nearer fifth in a six-furlong listed event at Chester in July, but he's now back on a mark just 1 lb higher than when posting a career best to win this 12 months ago. Firmly in the picture.

12. Gulliver (David O'Meara/Jason Watson)
It's now 20 runs since his last win in 2020 but he took a step back in the right direction when sixth in a six-furlong handicap at the Curragh last Sunday. Possibilities.

13. Bergerac (Kevin Ryan/Tom Eaves)
Has taken his form up a notch since the blinkers went on, bagging handicaps at Newmarket and York last month. Much respected in his hat-trick bid under a 5 lb penalty.

14. Khanjar (William Haggas/Jim Crowley)
Has won two of his three starts since being sent handicapping, including on his return from a two-month layoff at Haydock 15 days ago. Has a fair bit more to offer for his powerful yard and he's expected to be bang there under a 5 lb penalty.

15. Gis A Sub (Kevin Ryan/Shane Gray)
Runner-up in the Gimcrack at York last summer. Gelded and posted much his best effort this term when ninth of 22 in a five-and-a-half furlong handicap at York last month. No forlorn hope if building on that effort with cheekpieces retained.

16. Fivethousandtoone (Andrew Balding/Graham Lee)
Capitalised on a reduced mark when ending a long losing run in a six-furlong Goodwood handicap 20 days ago. Not entirely dismissed under a 5 lb penalty.

17. Honey Sweet (Karl Burke/Clifford Lee)
Yet to score this term but she arrives on the back of a good fifth in the Sceptre Stakes over seven furlongs at Doncaster 10 days ago. Visor goes on now, but more is needed at these weights returned to handicap company.

18. Chiefofchiefs (Charlie Fellowes/Rossa Ryan)
Without a win since the 2020 Wokingham consolation but he often runs with credit in big-field handicaps. Not best drawn when down the field over seven furlongs at Ascot last time and he can't be ruled out.

19. Motagally (Scott Dixon/Dale Swift)
Very good fourth in this event 12 months ago for Charlie Hills. Only raced twice for this yard and wasn't discredited when fifth of 19 in the Portland at Doncaster on Sunday. Considered.

20. Tinto (Michael Dods/Mark Winn (7))
Largely in excellent form for his current yard this term, scoring twice over six furlongs. Shaped as if still in decent form when eighth to Summerghand at York four weeks ago and not discounted with a good 7 lb claimer now up.

21. Lucky Man (Richard Spencer/P.J. McDonald)
Has taken his form up another notch since the cheekpieces went on, recording his first turf win in a six-furlong York handicap 13 days ago. Player once more under a 5 lb penalty.

22. Admiral D (Richard Fahey/Oisin McSweeney (5))
Dual winner at two (on soft ground) in Ireland who has shaped with some promise this year. Only sixth in a seven-furlong handicap at Doncaster nine days ago but can make his presence felt, especially if the ground eases.

23. Pendleton (Michael Dods/Cam Hardie)
Isn't proving the easiest to catch right and he came in last of 11 in a six-furlong handicap at Thirsk 22 days ago. On a losing run of 12 and the cheekpieces replace a visor.

24. Juan Les Pins (Michael Appleby/Andrew Mullen)
Has continued his resurgence this summer for his current yard, readily completing a four-timer at Doncaster in August. Not discredited when seventh there on Sunday and he can't be totally dismissed.

25. Aleezdancer (Kevin Ryan/Rowan Scott)
Benefited from the drop back in trip when landing a six-furlong Ripon handicap in August before backing it up with good third to Lucky Man at York 13 days ago. Goes well with ease in the ground and needs considering.

Recommended bets

Timeform Analyst's Verdict:

William Haggas' low-mileage 3-y-o KHANJAR hasn't looked back since sent handicapping and with the likely strong pace sure to suit he can take another sizeable step forward and claim his most prestigious prize yet. Last year's winner Bielsa has yet to hit top form this term but is now weighted to go well so seems sure to have a say. Lucky Man impressed when scoring at York at the start of the month and is another who is firmly in the picture. Aleezdancer and Commanche Falls complete the shortlist.

1. Khanjar
2. Bielsa
3. Lucky Man

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