Timeform Daily: Ayr Gold Cup, Saturday 15:30

It's Ayr Gold Cup Day on Saturday

Timeform offer their runner-by-runner guide to the feature race on Saturday, the Ayr Gold Cup.

"Many to consider, with the vote going to Alben Star despite a rare below-par effort in the great St Wilfrid last time."

Maarek is thriving in 2012, and gained second Group 3 win of season in Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh a week ago. Penalty makes life tough, but conditions ideal, and can't be ruled out of calculations.

The Cheka has taken form to a new level since dropped to 6f, finishing second in Duke of York Stakes and July Cup this year. Stamina stretched over 7f last time, and one to bear in mind despite big weight.

Beacon Lodge won 7f listed race at Haydock for Clive Cox in 2011, but most disappointing for new connections this year, and well beaten in Portland Handicap last week.

Hawkeyethenoo has a solid record in big-field handicaps, and added Stewards' Cup to his record last month. Below form in Group 1 last time, and very best form has come away from soft ground.

Borderlescott is a veteran sprinter who turned back the clock to land Beverley Bullet over 5f early this month, for which he picks up a penalty. Runner-up in this contest in 2006, but asking a lot to go one better now.

Our Jonathan won this race last year, and successful on return at Haydock. Unlucky next time, and while his form has dipped since, no great surprise to see him bounce back to his best now.

Morache Music Looked better than ever when an excellent fourth in Wokingham at Royal Ascot, but below that form twice since, and seemed unsuited by heavy ground when tried in a visor at Newbury last time.

Pintura Snapped losing run when scoring at Chester (7.6f) in May for David Simcock, and better than ever when winning at Galway for new yard last time. Cheekpieces back on now, but drop to 6f a concern.

Cheviot got back to winning ways for new yard at Beverley in May, and better than ever when beating Face The Problem at Haydock (5f, firm) last time. Opposable under very different conditions here.

Mirza has improved markedly this term, winning 3 times, including listed race at Cork. Excuses for below-par efforts last 2 starts, and capable of bouncing back, but needs a career-best effort to figure.

Wafflesaves his best efforts for big-field handicaps, and in frame in similar events on last 3 starts, most recently behind Hawkeyethenoo in Stewards' Cup. Should have race run to suit, and respected.

Jonny Mudball - NON RUNNER

Doc Hay improved last year, taking 4 handicaps for Keith Dalgleish, and better than ever for new yard when landing Portland at Doncaster last week. Handles all ground types, and clearly thriving at present.

Boastful improved to win 1m listed race at Goodwood on return/debut for current yard, and excellent second in Group 3 at Newcastle in June behind Maarek. Not matched that since, though, and others stronger.

Captain Ramius is a useful front runner who has made the frame in Bunbury Cup and Great St Wilfrid since returning from Meydan this summer, but no excuses on either occasion, and vulnerable again from current mark.

Regal Parade won this contest back in 2008, and went on to success at the highest level when with David Nicholls. Not the force of old, but better signs in a tongue tie at Bath last time, and not dismissed now.

Brae Hill often goes well in big-field handicaps, and several creditable efforts since Lincoln win on reappearance. Looked amiss when well held at Chester last time, however, and needs to bounce back.

Miss Work of Art was useful at 2 yrs, winning listed race at York and fourth in Cheveley Park Stakes. Not disgraced on belated return last month, but ran a shocker at Doncaster last time, and easy to swerve now.

Shropshire is much improved this year having been gelded, winning 6f handicaps at Kempton and Ascot. Fair effort behind Hawkeyethenoo in Stewards' Cup, and pulled hard when below form at Doncaster last time.

Rodrigo de Torres is a prominent racer who ended lengthy losing run in minor event at Nottingham (8.3f) in June. Below form in Group 3 at Leopardstown next time, and joined current yard for 75,000 gns in July. Risky.

Colonel Mak produced good effort when taking 22-runner Doncaster handicap in April, and better still when third to Maarek and Shropshire at Newmarket next time. In and out since, but now 5 lb lower than for latter run.

Sholaan has improved since fitted with blinkers, winning 6f York handicap and running to a similar level when third at Windsor in June. Not seen since, but unexposed, and not one to take lightly.

Taariq Too has continued on the up since joining current yard, and showed excellent resolution when beating Scarf at Doncaster (7f) in June. Below best in Swedish Group 3 last month, and needs very best form now.

Louis The Pious won 4 races in 2011 and better still when just touched off by Johannes in Stewards' Sprint at Goodwood. Backed that up when third in Great St Wilfrid last time, and respected in current heart.

Pearl Ice was most unlucky at Thirsk before impressive win at Ripon (6f, soft) in June. Below best on next 2 runs on a faster surface, but given a break and gelded since, so not written off back on testing ground.

Alben Star is progressive, and gained third win of season at Haydock (6f) in July. Had a poor draw when an excellent fifth in Stewards' Cup, and easy to forgive lesser effort at Ripon next time. Should go well now.

Johannes was back to best when beating Louis The Pious in Stewards' Sprint at Goodwood, but unable to confirm that form in Great St Wilfrid last time, and looks in the grip of the handicapper again.

Timeform 1-2-3
1. Alben Star
2. Doc Hay
3. Pearl Ice

Timeform View: Many to consider, with the vote going to Alben Star despite a rare below-par effort in the great St Wilfrid last time. Portland winner Doc Hay is respected in his current form, while Pearl Ice has been gelded since last seen, and is back on his favoured soft surface.

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