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Ayr Gold Cup choice will be ground dependent

ADRIAN NICHOLLS will wait to see what the weather brings before deciding which of his father's horses to ride in the John Smith's Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

David Nicholls, who has saddled four winners of the Scottish sprint since 2000, has 14 entered in the 6f handicap this year and his main two contenders would appear to be Tajneed and Valery Borzov, first and second in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes last month.

Nicholls junior chose correctly when guiding Tajneed to success at Ripon but admits he faces another tough decision ahead of the weekend's feature.

"I just want to see what happens with the ground and the draw before I decide," he said. "The ground is described as heavy at the moment and while Valery Borzov is quite versatile, Tajneed needs that ground.

"I want to see where the pace is so I have something to fire at, so there are a few things to consider."

Nicholls admits he will ultimately have to make the choice of which of these two horses to ride, but he believes itwould be folly to write off any of the 14 horses his father has entered.

"Everyone is going on about these two horses, but something down the bottom of the old man's could comeout and win as he has such a good record in therace," Nicholls told Racing UK.

"Manzila ran really well in a Listed race at Chester at the weekend and a more galloping track like Ayr should suit her.

"She is a big price, but I think she could give them all something to worry about."

Paddy Power have seen money for Nicholls' outsider Gift Horse and have clipped him into 22-1 from 33-1.

Spokesman Paddy Power said: "David Nicholls has won the Ayr Gold Cup four times in the last eight seasons and again looks like going into the race mob-handed.                                     

"His Valery Borzov is one of the principals, but Gift Horse has been backed so could he be his number one?"

Stuart Williams has yet to decide whether to let Saturday's Portland hero Hogmaneigh take his chance under a 5lb penalty.

The five-year-old also has the option of the Dubai Duty Free 25th Anniversary World Trophy at Newbury on the same day but Williams says no plans will be made until Wednesday.

"He has come out of the race in good form and I will speak with the owners on Wednesday evening and decide where to run him," said Williams.

"He has had all sorts of problems with his feet this year and ithas been frustrating as the horse has been in fantastic form apart from his feet.

"They held up well at the weekend with his new shoes from America. They were originally designed by Nasa, so they are quite hi-tech - but they seem to do the job anyway!"

The Ger Lyons-trained Benwilt Breeze was second 12 months ago and is one of only three Irish possibles. The son of Mujadil is without avictory this season but Lyons is confident he can return to his best in Scotland.

"He was second last year and it was a pity to get so close yet so far. But it was a hell of a run down the middle of the track," said Lyons.

"The older he gets, he handles most grounds. Ideally it would be good but I don't think that it will be and he will run regardless."

There are currently 142 possibles for the race but only27 will make the cut and the draw will take place live on Racing UK at 11am on Thursday.


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