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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Triple attack: Tim Easterby sets sights on first Ayr Gold Cup

Tim Easterby: set to saddle Flying Pursuit, Staxton and Golden Apollo in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday
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Tim Easterby is readying a three-strong attack in a bid to land the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup for the first time on Saturday.

Flying Pursuit, winner of the Sky Bet Dash at York in July, is among the market leaders for the £200,000 sprint handicap and is set to be joined by stablemates Staxton and Golden Apollo.

Ladbrokes report 12-1 shot Flying Pursuit as their biggest liability for the race at this stage with the five-year-old arriving on the back of finishing sixth in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last month.

Easterby said: "Flying Pursuit loves a bit of juice in the ground and loves the track.

"He's got lots of ability and he's improved from last year. He ran okay at Ripon and I was very happy with him. He's a very straightforward horse, he sits up there with the pace, which you want at Ayr.”

Staxton will have to overcome recent trends, with just two three-year-olds landing the prize since the turn of the millennium, but boasts some strong form, while Golden Apollo promises to win a race of this nature and ran better than his finishing position of ninth suggests in the Portland last time.

Golden Apollo is a 20-1 chance with the race sponsors, while Staxton is a best-priced general 33-1 shot.

William Hill Ayr Gold Cup card and betting

The trainer said: "Golden Apollo ran a good race in the Portland, he stuck on well. It's not easy for three-year-olds, but Staxton has got plenty of class and you need class to win a race like that.

"They all like a bit of juice in the ground and I couldn't really split them, they've all got good chances."

The going at Ayr on Tuesday morning was soft, heavy in places (from soft) with 5mm of rain at the track in the past day and an unsettled forecast for the rest of the week.

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Also on Saturday, Take Cover, who ran fifth in the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last weekend, could bid to repeat last year's win in the Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury.

"He ran a cracker in Ireland, beaten a length and a quarter on soft ground," said trainer David Griffiths. "On quick ground we'd have given the winner [Havana Grey] a good race."

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They all like a bit of juice in the ground and I couldn't really split them, they've all got good chances
E.W. Terms
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