Hughes won't make a mistake this time
Back Sauce Of Life @ 15/8 in the 12:30 at Ayr
There has been something about the number five this week. Pretty Little Liar fell five out on Thursday and yesterday's selection Wolf Prince departed at the fifth. Hopefully the horse is okay after that nasty spill, as it certainly was a race that went to a big price at Fairyhouse. I mentioned Sit Down Lucy but picked the wrong one, as she ran a blinder to be placed at 14.5. We could hear more about her in December after that fine run.
The opener at Ayr revolves around two horses at the top of the betting in Lebowski and Sauce Of Life, and I'll be backing the latter as the bigger price of the two.
He was unbeaten in two bumpers before his hurdling debut two weeks ago at Wetherby, and while the winner of that could be useful, it was a very tactical race with no early pace and Sauce Of Life wasn't in the best position to utilise his abilities. Brian Hughes got caught out, as it was Lorcan Williams who was more savvy to make the running and slow it down.
The first 12f averaged nearly 16 seconds per furlong, so Hughes can make amends today and the bigger field will help. He was sent off at 8/11 for that debut and travelled well at a low of 1.392/5 in-running and for me, was the best horse in the race.
He won on his debut in a bumper at Musselburgh in a more evenly-run race, and that so far has been his best performance. He was bought as a store for 35,000, so staying a trip in the future will be has bag.
The favourite Lebowski sauntered to a win at Ffos Las in deep ground by a big margin, but recently some of the trainer's runners (Michael Scudamore) have gone off too short in the betting. Plus it's a different surface today, and I see Sauce Of Life having no problems on that front.
Bridge can jump better to make a bold show
Back Famous Bridge @ 5/2 in the 13:40 at Ayr
Here's hoping for a good day for Nicky Richards and Brian Hughes and they combine with young hurdler Famous Bridge - who is surely named after the Four Masters Bridge in Sligo, as he is a half-brother to Mullaghanoe River and Telmesomethinggirl. The latter is a classy mare for Henry De Bromhead and owner Kenny Alexander and is rated in the 140s, so I am looking forward to seeing what the selection can do this afternoon.
He made his debut in a Punchestown bumper for Damian Murphy last spring over 2m4f, and while he wasn't beaten far in third, the ground was very testing and he plugged on for a place.
The ground was again testing at Carlisle for his Richards' debut last time over 2m4f and sat on the pace for much of the way to finish second (would have been third had it not been for the horse than ran out), but he showed a good attitude after making a bad mistake three from home. The error seemed to cause him to lose concentration too. The time was reasonable given the conditions, and quicker than the second division.
With a less taking surface he can go well and I prefer him to High Stakes, who bolted up in a Wexford bumper and has joined Warren Greatrex for a few quid. The pace is likely to come from Lucinda Russell's Corrigeen Rock, who could be a nice price to trade back your stake from around 5.04/1.