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Staxton drawn first in live draw as trainers search for optimum ground

Staxton (extreme left): has a good Ayr Gold Cup draw
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Tim Easterby has sided with history in Saturday's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup after opting for Staxton – first to be picked out of the hat in Thursday's live draw – to break from stall eight, which has housed the last two winners at its traditional home.

Easterby also plumped for low options with Flying Pursuit (three) and Golden Apollo (four) as he seeks to win a race that last year could not be staged at Ayr due to drainage issues. 

He said: "There's the odd soft patch so that was my preference. I was very happy with the draw."

The stands' side proved unpopular, with most of the high-numbered boxes left until the end, but Thursday's big-field 5f handicap gave no clues as the first three home broke from stalls 9, 11 and 17.

Ante-post favourite Son Of Rest is drawn in stall 17, while Stewards' Cup runner-up Justanotherbottle inherited the highest berth in stall 25 with no connections around at the time the horse was drawn out.

The ground remained officially soft, heavy in places at Ayr on Thursday evening and clerk of the course Graeme Anderson said: "We're forecast 6mm of rain tonight and showers through most of Friday, but I wouldn't have thought it will change the ground much."

Racegoers travelling to the track by rail on Saturday are warned they may face a slightly disrupted journey as the station platform can accommodate only four-carriage trains due to an exclusion zone set up around the former station hotel, which has been deemed unsafe.

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There's the odd soft patch so that was my preference. I was very happy with the draw
E.W. Terms