HHO looks at some of the runners racing this weekend at Ayr in Scotland and Newbury in the south
Jim Goldie, who trains 15 miles from Glasgow city centre, is poised to become the first Scottish trainer to keep the Ayr Gold Cup at home since Roman Warrior carried top weight to victory in 1975.
Goldie will drive Indian Spark and Albashoosh on the 30-mile trip to the course and he fancies both of them to run big races in one of the most competitive sprints of the season.
The enigmatic Indian Spark, rated among the stable stars at Libo Hill Farm, heads the handicap, while Albashoosh languishes at the foot of the weights. Slight preference is for Indian Spark.
This eight-year-old finished an encouraging eighth behind Halmaherain the Portland Handicap at Doncaster last week and Goldie believes the run will have put him right for Scotland’s most valuable race.
Indian Spark has won 10 races for Goldie despite a catalogue of injuries and minor setbacks. He fractured a leg as a two-year-old and then suffered from sinus problems, while nowadays his advancing years have brought on arthritis.
But don’t be put off. For, when he is on song he is highly talented, as his fourth to Kyllachy at Newmarket in the spring underlined.
Dandy Nicholls, who has won the last two Gold Cups with Bahamian Pirate and Continent, saddles four this time – Funfair Wane, Extinguisher, In Space and Hurricane Floyd. Hurricane Floyd, who ran well in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, may prove the best of the quartet.
But old Indian Spark should lead them all homefor Goldie who opened the West Meeting with a dazzling double on Thursday.
Nicholls could be on the mark with True Night, bidding for a five-timer in the Tote Ayrshire Handicap, while Newmarket trainer Geoff Wragg’s Island House is an automatic choice for the Doonside Cup.
At Newbury there is a highly competitive card. The Mark Johnston-trained Legal Approach should star in the Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial but Bustan may well be a big danger.
The £100,000 Courage Best Stakes should act as a lively trial for next month’s Cambridgeshire. This time Barry Hills’s Far Lane, an unlucky fifth behind Vicious Warrior at Doncaster last week, may be the pick.
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