Hogmaneigh leads Gold charge

Hogmaneigh, winner of the Portland Handicap last weekend, will break from stall 27 in Saturday’s John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup.

Hogmaneigh, winner of the Portland Handicap last weekend, will break from stall 27 in Saturday’s John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup.

Stuart Williams’ sprinter was first out of the hat in the televised draw and a stable representative had no hesitation in choosing a stall next to the stands’ rail.

The 2006 winner Fonthill Road was drawn out not long after and was placed in stall one on the far rail, with River Falcon in box two and last year’s winner Advanced in stall three.

Not surprisingly all the positions near a rail were snapped up first with conditions expected to be very testing indeed.

The high stall appeared first choice with the well-backed Confuchias in 26 and Great St Wilfrid winner Tajneed in 21.

But Jim Goldie, who knows the Ayr track better than most, broke the mould by placing his Portland runner-up River Falcon, who scraped into the race by the skin of his teeth, in stall two. Stablemate Dhaular Dhar is in eight.

“I walked it yesterday and high is best at the moment but I would think they are going to get a lot of traffic down there,” explained Goldie.

“My theory is that it may be fresher ground on the far side and I’ve been drawn high before and never got a run.

“Both of mine are hold-up horses and they need to be able to get through so I thought they might get a better run if there are less on that side.

“With Tamagin (five) on our side hopefully he will force the pace. At the moment high is best, but on Saturday it might not be,” he told Racing UK.

Top-weight Appalachian Trail will go from stall 14 with another fancied runner, Valery Borzov in stall seven.

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