More rain the better for Frankuus as he bids to bounce back
William Hill Doonside Cup (Listed) | 1m2f | RUK | 3yo+
Weather: Partly cloudy
Dark clouds are filling the skies over the south-west coast of Scotland, which is nothing but a plus for Frankuus and his chances of claiming a first prize of nearly £37,000 in the feature race on the first day of Ayr’s Gold Cup meeting.
The son of Frankel flopped on good to firm ground when favourite for Windsor’s Winter Hill Stakes and will be much happier on a surface more akin to the conditions of his win in the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes last month.
Trainer Mark Johnston won the Doonside Cup with Sennockian Star in 2014 and son and assistant Charlie said: “With his Group 3 penalty it’s going to be a tough task giving the weight away to Forest Ranger, but a mile and a quarter with cut in the ground and a small field is perfect for him. It was a below-par effort at Windsor, but he’s got his conditions tomorrow.”
Only eight lengths behind Barney Roy in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, Forest Ranger has twice been placed in Group 3s since.
His trainer Richard Fahey said: "We're a little bit worried if the ground gets very soft. He's run on soft before, so he'll definitely run, but it's just whether he gets home. We're very happy with him though."
Trainer Karl Burke and PJ McDonald combined for Laurens’ win in Doncaster’s May Hill Stakes last week and go into battle with Born To Be Alive, also in receipt of 5lb from fellow three-year-old Frankuus.
Burke said: “He’s a lovely progressive horse and I think he’s going to make up into an even better four-year-old. He goes there after a good run in France and he handles soft ground. My only concern is if the ground goes really heavy, but he’ll take his chance. It’s a valuable race and it’s been the plan to run him in it for a while.”
County Meath trainer Ger Lyons has been attracted by the big pot and brings over Brendan Bracken, who should have no trouble with the surface, while Hibou, second to Riven Light in a valuable handicap at the Galway festival, has winning form on soft.
Big Country has his first start since finishing second in the John Smith’s Cup and trainer Mick Appleby said: "He's in good order and he should run well. He isn't proven on ground that soft, but I think he'll cope with it."
First for Moore
Chafer grubs are not popular at Bath but they might be at Yarmouth, which is staging a £20,000 race lost to the Somerset track because of an infestation.
The Bath Staying Series Final Handicap at 3.35 has attracted 12 runners and is notable for Ryan Moore's first ride for Jonjo O'Neill. He's on board Desert Cross, last seen winning a qualifier for the race at Bath in July.
Quinn chasing hat-trick
Mick Quinn knows all about netting hat-tricks – he scored one for Coventry at Arsenal once – and the footballer-turned-trainer is out to do the same with Great Hall, who runs in Yarmouth's £20,000 'Get On With Dan Hague Handicap' at 4.10.
Lee bids for repeat win
Pontefract hosts the £30,000 EBF "Breeders' Series' Fillies" Handicap and Mick Channon tries to win it again with Kassia, the mount of Graham Lee, who also won the race in 2015.
Lane on the right track
The John Mulhern Mares Handicap Hurdle is the highlight at Ballinrobe where Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins team up and will be hoping for better from Tay Lane, who showed signs of ability when sixth in a handicap hurdle at the Galway festival last time.