Goldie Cup hope is Ayr to the throne

Proud Scotsman Jim Goldie has his heart set on ending 38 years of hurt for the country of his birth when he saddles Jack Dexter and Hawkeyethenoo in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

Goldie Cup hope is Ayr to the throne

Roman Warrior, trained by Nigel Angus, was the last Scottish horse to get on the roll of honour, but Glasgow-based Goldie feels he can put paid to the long lean spell.

Jack Dexter has made giant strides since running away with the Bronze Cup last September and looks like having his favoured soft ground.

While Hawkeyethenoo would prefer a drier surface, he is a consistent as well as smart performer and was fourth in the Betfred Sprint Cup last time.

“It looks like the rain has hampered Hawkeye, but the more the better for Jack Dexter. It was very wet last year and Jack loved it,” Goldie told Racing UK.

“Hawkeye is in great form, Hoof It was just in front of us so the two of them bring Group One form. The ground won’t be as bad as last year.

“It occurred to me last year I probably had the Ayr Gold Cup winner last year in Jack Dexter but we’ve won another three or four races and ended up with top weight.

“We’ve waited for this since June, I’ve wasted a lot of money on entry fees waiting for his ground and it hasn’t come but he’s certainly got it now.”

Tropics has had a tremendous season so far, winning four of his seven starts, though he could not quite justify favouritism in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood when sixth to Rex Imperator.

However, the in-form sprinter goes to Scotland on the back of a Listed success at Newmarket.

Trainer Dean Ivory said: “He’s in great nick and Jim Crowley is very confident. He really believes in this horse and I just think he’s got a wonderful chance.

“He’s in great form and we expect a big run.”

Richard Fahey lifted this prestigious six-furlong handicap with Fonthill Road in 2006 and has three runners this time in Baccarat, Heaven’s Guest and Majestic Myles.

The former, winner of the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon, is the Malton trainer’s main contender.

“Baccarat looks to be the number one for us, but you never know in these races. We’re happy with him and everything’s gone according to plan,” said Fahey.

“It looks like there’s more to come from him. His work is getting better and he’s getting more professional.”

“Majestic Myles has had a bad season. From a genuinely unbelievable horse, he’s just lost his way, for some reason.

“Heaven’s Guest has had a fantastic season. At the beginning of the season you wouldn’t have thought he’d end up in the Ayr Gold Cup.

“I just felt he was a bit over the top at Goodwood last time. We freshened him up, we’re happy with him at home and hopefully he can bounce back, but he needs to.”

Captain Ramius is one of three past winners in the race, along with Our Jonathan (2011) and Regal Parade (2008), and his rider Pat Smullen believes Kevin Ryan’s inmate has every chance of landing back-to-back victories.

“Kevin’s very happy with him and I think he’s been trained all year with this race in mind,” Smullen told At The Races.

“Obviously I’m happy to see the rain arrive and he is a horse that goes on soft ground and he’s pretty well drawn (eight). It’s similar to where we were last year.

“The vibes are good and I expect him to run well. He’s gone up a bit in the weights, which will make it harder for him, but Kevin Ryan has a habit of winning these races, so hopefully we go there with a shout.”

Hugo Palmer is bullish about the prospects of Khubala, who has run creditably in several big sprints this term, including when fourth in the Wokingham.

“I’m happy with stall 23 and very happy with the horse. He’s in great order,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“My only regret with him all year was that I didn’t enter him in the Chipchase. They got soft ground at Newcastle for that which the Ayr Gold Cup favourite won.

“On form I reckon we’ve got to have a chance of beating the favourite, who has to give us lumps of weight.”

Since Highland Colori was touched off a short head by Mass Rally in last year’s Silver Cup, connections have had Gold on their minds.

“Evan Sutherland, who owns him, is a Scot and was keen to have this on his agenda, so it was always the plan to have a go,” said trainer Andrew Balding.

“He’s in great form and will love the ground. He picked up a penalty for winning at Warwick, but I’ve booked Oisin Murphy, who has a useful claim, and you’d hope he can run well.”

Joe Eile is one of two Irish raiders and Ger Lyons’ charge can make his presence felt, according to his rider Emmet McNamara.

“I’m looking forward to it. He’s working well at home and deserves to go over there and take his chance,” McNamara.

“He’s a five-year-old now. He kept on improving last year and we were hoping he’d improve again this year and he has. He seems to be getting better as he gets older.

“He’s a good record in sprint big handicaps – he’s tough and he’s consistent.

“Hopefully soft ground won’t be a problem - he’s won on all types.”

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