2019 Ayr Gold Cup ante-post tips – Two contenders to side with in Saturday’s feature handicap

A view of the thrilling finish to last year's Ayr Gold Cup.

A view of the thrilling finish to last year’s Ayr Gold Cup.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for Saturday’s feature handicap at Ayr and highlights two outsiders worth backing.

The ITV Racing team will head north of the border on Saturday afternoon, with Ayr’s lucrative Gold Cup Handicap Sprint the headline race of the afternoon. Last year’s contest saw one of the most thrilling finishes of the season, as Son Of Rest and Baron Bolt were judged to have hit the line at the same time, resulting in a controversial dead-heat.

The market for the 2019 renewal of the Ayr Gold Cup is now open and punters have already started taking chunks out of the fancied runners. Our expert has taken a look through the betting and highlighted two overlooked contenders to side with.

2019 Ayr Gold Cup Tips

21/9/19 3:50pm Ayr William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 6f

A quick glance through the recent history of the Ayr Gold Cup will tell you that classy horses towards the head of the ratings have had the edge. Since 2005, only three horses have won off a mark less than 100. In that time, only 16 horses rated below 100 have managed to fill a top five place, meaning 76% of placers in the last 13 years have carried a triple-figure rating.

With that in mind, there are several highly-rated entrants who catch the eye in the betting, the chief of those being David O’Meara’s SUMMERGHAND.David Nolan’s mount many not have won this season, but his consistent performances in very high-quality handicaps have ensured the progress he made through the ratings in 2018 has continued. Summerghand was unlucky to finish second in two classy races at Newmarket at the start of the season, before running a fine race to place fifth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot. Defeat to Danzeno in a conditions race followed, before Summerghand finished quickly to place fourth behind Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup.Once again, O’Meara’s handicapper ran into a classy sort in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon, losing out to future Listed winner, Dakota Gold by a couple of lengths. The handicapper bumped Summerghand up to a career-high mark of 102 following that defeat, but O’Meara’s five-year-old has clocked RPR’s in excess of that rating four times already this season, so that mark is certainly not beyond him.Summerghand had a crack at the Ayr Gold Cup last season, finishing a well-beaten tenth. However, the heavy ground really went against him that day and the draw didn’t do him any favours either. Tthe first eight horses past the post that day came along either of the rails and Summerghand, drawn poorly down the centre of the course, struggled to make any inroads from off the pace.The draw hasn’t been too kind on Summerghand again, once more placing him down the centre of the track. The drying ground will fill David O’Meara and his team with confidence though, as Summerghand has a second crack at the Ayr Gold Cup and there’s no doubt he’s capable of winning off his current rating.

Summerghand powers

Summerghand powers to victory at Haydock last year.

21/9/19 3:50pm Ayr William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 6f

Another classy sprinter, who I feel has been overlooked, is MAJOR JUMBO. Last seen finishing seventh in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, Major Jumbo drops back to handicap company for the first time since the end of last season and Ryan wouldn’t send his charge to Ayr if he didn’t think he was able to challenge for the victory.Major Jumbo has been in with the best of the best for the majority of this season. After starting the year with good placed efforts behind Invincible Army and Mabs Cross, Ryan’s five-year-old crossed the line just three lengths behind Inns Of Court in a Group Three over in Chantilly.Tom Eaves’ mount couldn’t hang with the likes of Ten Sovereigns and Hello Youmzain in either the July Cup or the Sprint Cup. In between those Group One efforts, Major Jumbo managed to claim a valuable victory up at Chester, hacking up to win the Listed Queensferry Stakes.Ryan’s sprinter was my selection in the race 12 months ago, but Major Jumbo struggled throughout and crossed the line ahead of just five of his 25 rivals. The good ground will be much more to his liking this time around and he’s come out of the draw well having been placed in stall 20, so I’m expecting a much more competitive display from this talented sprinter.