Jim Goldie's Goodwood consolation winner Tommy G going for gold
William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup Handicap | 6f | 3yo+ | RUK
Consolation races have been the subject of much discussion in recent months, notably because both the Silver Bunbury Cup (7) and Stewards' Sprint Handicap (19) failed to attract maximum fields. Thankfully there has been no such issue with the Bronze Cup, with a field of 24 – it would have been the full 25 had it not been for early non-runner Go Far – set to do battle. Here's four punting pointers . . .
Going for gold
Local trainer Jim Goldie is enjoying one of his best-ever seasons. A Glorious Goodwood double, initiated by Tommy G's win in the Stewards' Cup consolation, rates a highlight, and he has previous in this contest, having scored with popular stalwart Jack Dexter in 2012.
Goldie is confident his course-and-distance winner has won despite the summer ground this season, not because of it, and believes the gelding will be more comfortable on this surface.
He said: "Danny rides Tommy G, he's riding very well. I've trained him for this race after Goodwood, it was a mistake running at Ascot but we've freshened him up since then. The ground is a positive, and he has the form in the book."
Oriental Lily, who is also a course-and-distance winner and another to run in the black and yellow silks of Johnnie Delta Racing, is a half-sister to Jack Dexter.
"She's had a good season, but the ground may be more against her than Tommy G," he said.
Proven performers hold the key
It is often perceived that the younger generation have an advantage in big handicaps because of the weight-for-age allowance, but that hasn't proved the case in the Bronze Cup. Since the race was introduced in 2009, only Jack Dexter has won as a three-year-old.
That statistic counts against six of the 24 runners, with Royal Residence, John Kirkup, Soldier's Minute, Lucky Lucky Man, Captain Jameson and Gabrial The Devil the ones who have it to overcome.
Three for Fahey?
Victorious with Baldemar in 2009 and Coolminx in 2011, this race, like so many other valuable sprint handicaps in the north, is Richard Fahey's bread and butter.
The trainer fires three bullets in an attempt to win his third Bronze Cup, with three-year-olds Lucky Lucky Man and Gabrial The Devil joining Paddy Power, who will be making his first trip to Ayr as a five-year-old.
Fahey said: “This trip in soft ground will really suit Gabrial The Devil. He’s in great form and is the one they have to beat. Lucky Lucky Man is not well handicapped but has run consistently well all year. He’s love the ground. Paddy Power has the ability to win the race but it depends whether he wants to.”
Don't be afraid of backing a longshot
Punters haven't had much luck working out the Bronze Cup in recent years, with seven of the last eight winners striking at double-figure prices.
Classic Seniority and Go Far, the two most recent winners, both came in at 20-1.
What they say
Marjorie Fife, trainer of My Amigo and Adam's Ale
My Amigo ran a really good race in Ireland last time, we were actually hoping for more rain as he's probably better over seven furlongs or a mile. He's so genuine and the conditions should suit. Adam's Ale is a funny old horse, he's a bit quirky, he won impressively at Ripon on soft ground but he likes to win first time out and then can't be bothered after that. This season things have gone in our favour as the firm ground meant he went home and had a rest. He came back and is fresh so hopefully he'll think it's his first run of the season all over again! The ground should be in his favour too.
Keith Dalgleish, trainer of Dark Defender and Soldier's Minute
Dark Defender will love the ground. Soldier's Minute may be a bit of an unknown but he ran really well at York, he just got beaten on the line.
Iain Jardine, trainer of Yes You
The race will be run to suit Yes You, a good gallop should be on. Last time at Hamilton they didn't go quick enough for her, she needs a furious pace to aim at. She loves deep ground and she's reasonably well drawn.
Paul Midgley, trainer of Start Time, Russian Realm and Buccaneers Vault
Start Time probably would be the pick of my three. He has won well the last twice, he's dropping back down to six furlongs, whether he's as effective over six as he is over seven we'll find out. He has form on soft ground. Russian Realm is one of those that should probably win more than he does, he isn't straightforward, but he loves a fast pace, slow ground and lots of runners. Buccaneers Vault has been great this year, really consistent, and he's another who would like them to go hard up front, so he should be doing his best work at the finish.
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