Ayr Gold Cup Preview

Last updated: September 19, 2019 by Leon Marshal

The big betting race at Ayr on Saturday is the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup over six furlongs. This is one of the most valuable sprint handicaps of the season and always attracts a maximum field. Notable past winners include Lochsong (1992), Coastal Bluff (1996), Don’t Touch (2015) and Brando (2016). Last year’s race resulted in a dead-heat between Baron Bolt (28-1) and Son Of Rest (5-1), both tipped in this column.

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Buffer Zone and Gulliver set to renew rivalry

Irish raider Son Of Rest landed a big gamble here last year and Buffer Zone is a popular choice from across the Irish Sea this weekend. The four-year-old is trained by Ger Lyons, recently successful in the Ebor Handicap at York with Mustajeer.

Buffer Zone has won four of his eleven starts and is less exposed than most of his rivals. He was not beaten far in a Group 3 at the Curragh before winning a valuable handicap at the same track earlier this month. He carries a 5lbs penalty for that success but still makes plenty of appeal of a mark of 104. There has also been plenty of ante-post support for David O’Meara’s Gulliver who finished less than two lengths behind Buffer Zone at the Curragh. The gelding did not get the clearest of runs that day and is entitled to go close on 5lbs better terms. He won a competitive handicap at York on good to firm ground in July and finished sixth behind Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Stable companion Summerghand has been threatening to win a big handicap all season. He caught the eye when flashing home behind Flavius Titus at Newmarket in April. He finished fourth in the Stewards’ Cup and chased home the in-form Dakota Gold in the Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon. The handicapper has not done him any favours by raising him 2lbs for his latest effort.

O’Meara saddles five in Ayr Gold Cup

O’Meara also saddles Arecibo, Intisaab and Cold Stare. Arecibo is another consistent performer who finished a close fourth in last week’s Portland Handicap at Doncaster. Intisaab looks fully exposed and Cold Stare won well in heavy ground at Haydock but conditions look like going against him this weekend.

Andrew Balding relies on Stone Of Destiny after taking out 2017 winner Donjuan Triumphant because of the fast ground. Stone Of Destiny is a four-year-old gelding by Acclamation. He travelled well into contention at Ascot last time before his effort petered out but showed a smart level of form as a three-year-old.

Gunmetal has flattered only to deceive on a couple of occasions this season. He has fallen a few pounds in the weights and would have each-way claims on his early season form at York and Ascot. Good Effort could run better than his recent form suggests. He was hampered in the early stages at Newmarket last time and raced prominently for a long way before failing to see out the seven furlongs at Ascot in July.

Laugh A Minute was second to Invincible Army in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle in June. He ran poorly in soft ground at Hamilton next time but Roger Varian would not send him here unless he was confident of a better performance.

Betting Tips

Buffer Zone @5-1 found at Bet365.

Gulliver @8-1

Laugh A Minute @16-1

Good Effort @25-1

Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4,5

The Ayr Gold Cup is due off at 3.50 at Ayr on Saturday 21st September and will be televised live on ITV4.