Our tipsters with their hot picks from the Ayr Gold Cup entries
Following the announcement of 214 entries for the Ayr Gold Cup on Wednesday, we tasked four tipsters with the relatively straightforward task of picking the winner.
Trainer David O'Meara won with Louis The Pious in 2014 and looks to have laid out this five-year-old for the race.
Entered in Ripon's Great St Wilfrid on Saturday – a perfect prep run for this equally-tough handicap – Al Qahwa looks well-treated off a mark in the mid 90s, is versatile when it comes to the ground and is proven in big fields.
His last two runs at Epsom and Ascot were respectable off a 2lb higher mark and, while the William Haggas-trained Mankib would be an interesting runner if he takes up his entry, I'm backing Al Qahwa at this early stage.
Finished runner-up to Brando in the race two years ago when sent off a heavily-backed 4-1 favourite. He ran off a mark of 101 as a four-year-old that day and went on to finish second to The Tin Man in a Group 1 at Ascot.
He competes off a 2lb lower mark this time and there's no evidence he isn't as good as ever. After all, he finished an excellent third to Gifted Master in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on his most recent start and looks sure to go close in Scotland.Aces
I had a hard time separating Aces and Global Applause but slight preference is for the former. He was third in Doncaster's Champagne Stakes in 2014 and is back on track for Ian Williams this year, with victories at Epsom and Newmarket.
His Newmarket win was over 7f, but spare stamina rarely hurts in the Ayr Gold Cup and, should the ground get testing, he also has winning form on heavy ground in France.
Topweights won the last two Ayr Gold Cups so it makes sense to look towards those higher up the ratings. With the three-year-olds currently doing well in the sprinting division, Hey Jonesy catches the eye. He came to the boil around this time last year and his trainer Kevin Ryan has a tremendous record in the race.
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