Sainted can prove a heavenly bet in Ayr Gold Cup

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To say that Saturday’s valuable William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is over-subscribed would be something of an understatement with an entry of 184 standing their ground at Monday’s declaration stage, all jostling for a place in the six furlong Heritage Handicap for which a maximum field of 25 is permitted.

The term ‘ handicap ‘ has to be used very loosely in this particular case with the current top weight standing at 10st ( Gifted Master ) while the last horse guaranteed a position prior to Thursday’s final declarations is only a stone lower on 9st. With such a massive entry the vast majority will be confined to a run in the consolation Silver or Bronze Cup’s, although many will fail to gain a place at any level.


One horse who won’t have that problem is the Charlie Hills-trained Shanghai Glory, set to carry 9st 3lb should the top weight stand his ground, and available at a top price 12-1 favourite to land the first prize of £124,500 on Saturday afternoon. The son of Exceed And Excel will be having just his fourth start of the season and looked to be hitting top form on his two most recents outings, finishing a creditable fifth ( beaten less than two lengths ) in the Stewards Cup before finding Mattmu and Pipers Note just too good in Ripon’s Great St Wilfrid last month.

Only two three-year-olds have managed to win the historic sprint this century, Funfair Wane in 2002 and Don’t Touch two years ago. At the moment both Bacchus and Tommy Taylor are the two from the Classic generation guaranteed to take part while the strongly-fancied Ekhtiyaar needs a few to drop out in order to get a run so the Roger Varian-trained son of Bated Breath is more likely to head the weights for the Silver Cup unless the required number come out on Thursday morning.

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One horse who may just creep in the race off 8st 13lb is Sainted from the William Haggas stable. The four-year-old looks the value in the ante-post market at the standout 20-1 on offer with bet365 following her clear cut victory at Haydock last month. The daughter of Dutch Art is lightly-raced and could easily turn out to be Group class in time.

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