This column has started to find form in recent weeks, with a 16/1 winner in Eve Lodge hitting the mark a fortnight ago and Hurricane Ivor landing the Portland Handicap at 11/2 last week, so hopefully the good form can continue into this weekend.
Ample evidence it'll be third time lucky with RS
I rarely come through the Ayr Gold Cup meeting without having a swing at the feature race or one of the consolation contests and my first pick comes in the Virgin Bet Ayr Silver Cup (14:30) in the shape of Royal Scimitar.
This will be the third time in recent months that I've selected Royal Scimitar in this column and while he didn't win on either occasion that I put him up, there has been more than sufficient promise to warrant persevering with him.
For a very long time he was shaping as though a drop back to sprint trips would very much suit him. When he eventually did drop in trip, he shaped extremely well in a strong handicap at Newmarket, finishing a close fourth despite being drawn on the wrong side. His next outing came in the Shergar Cup at Ascot and he was again very unfortunate, finishing a close third despite blowing the start and racing alone on the near side.
While his last two runs haven't been quite as promising, he did run a good race on his latest start when second to the progressive Popmaster at Ascot after missing the kick.
The key to his chance in this contest could well be the first-time blinkers, as the hope is that they will sharpen him up at the stalls and through the race. There is ample evidence that he has more than enough ability to win off his current mark over this trip and the blinkers might just help draw out all of that potential improvement.
Slow learner ready to strike
Over at Newbury, the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes (14:15) brings together a sharp field of experienced sprinters, but I am siding with the least exposed of them in the shape of the three-year-old Atalis Bay.
Atalis Bay is another that has appeared in this column in the past, most notably when he was selected for and duly won a Listed race at Sandown in June. He has long given the impression of being a slow learner that will continue to improve with racing and there was more than enough promise in his latest run in a handicap at Haydock to suggest he isn't finished progressing yet.
That run came off the back of a nine-week break that suggested he may have had a little setback since his below-form run on unsuitably soft ground in the Coral Charge at Sandown. He was also ridden with more restraint than is often the case, again suggesting that he may have been thought to be short of full race fitness.
Despite all of this, he finished off his race well to be beaten just a length in third, which represented a big effort for a three-year-old carrying top weight against his elders.
That run promises to put him spot on for this and with the drying ground sure to be in his favour, it wouldn't be at all surprising if he ran a big race.