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Well-backed Confuchias  looks pick of Burke's trio

KARL BURKE expects to have a strong hand in Saturday's John Smith's Ayr Gold Cup with three of his entries setto take their chance.

Confuchias and Aahayson are both certain to make the cut for the 6f dash, while Raptor is also likely to make the starting line-up with only a few above him in the handicap needed to drop out.

Burke believes the testing conditions will suit all of his representatives and is particularly keen on the chances of Confuchias, who is popular with punters and has been cut to 10-1 from 14-1 by Stan James.

"Aahayson and Confuchias get in and all things being equal, they will definitely run," said the trainer.

"I think Raptor only needs four to drop out and all three of them will love the soft ground so I hope to have three chances in that, and maybe one or two in the Silver Cup as well.

"Confuchias ran really to finish fifth in the Great St Wilfrid last time and when he is on-song, he's a very useful horse and he likes cut in the ground.

"His training problems have been well documented and he is probably a grade above handicap company when he is right.

"He has won a couple of Group 3 races in the past and he may not be upto that now but handicap company on soft ground is right up his street."

Advanced is on target to defend his crown in the big Scottish sprint.

Kevin Ryan's sprinter landed the prestigious event last September and showed his well-being whenrunner-up to Look Busy at Beverley last month.                                                               

The five-year-old, who is rated 5lb lower than he was for the race in 2007, is likely to be joined by his stablemate Tamagin.

"I plan to run Tamagin and Advanced, but I think Evens And Odds is doubtful as the ground might be too soft for him," said Ryan.

"Advanced is in good form and he's got good form at the track."

Jamie Spencer steered Advanced home last autumn but Ryan has yet to make any riding plans for Saturday.

"I don't know yet, I'm not going into jockeys yet," the Hambleton-based handler added.

Jim Goldie is keeping his fingers crossed that River Falcon makes the final field after he was denied by a short head in the Portland at Doncaster last week.

The eight-year-old was only beaten just over three lengths at Ayr 12 months ago but he needs a few horses to drop out if he is going to run again.

"River Falcon will take his chance if he gets in, but he needs about 12 or 13 to come out to get a run," said Goldie.

"I wouldn't give up on it and funnier things have happened in this world, but if he doesn't get in he'll likely run in the Silver Cup.

"I was gutted when he got beat at Doncaster as I thought he had the race won, but c'est la vie as they say.

"We probably should have beaten Hogmaneigh there and he is one of the favourites for Ayr so if our lad gets in, he would have to be there or thereabouts."                                                      

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