Weekend racing preview: Great Ambassador looks the business in Ayr Gold Cup

A week on from Hurricane Lane’s thrilling St Leger success, the Flat racing action bandwagon rolls on to Scotland this weekend.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 2:11 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 2:18 pm
Action from Ayr. Photo by Jeff Holmes-Pool/Getty Images

The highlight is the £150,000 Ayr Gold Cup which is live on ITV at 3.40pm on Saturday afternoon.

Famous winners of the six-furlong event include brilliant sprinter Lochsong (1992), Coastal Bluff (1996), Bahamian Pirate (200), Continent (2001), Regal Parade (2008) and Nahaarr (2020). We have previewed the pick of the action.

Take a look at OLBG for more ITV Racing selections.

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Great Ambassador has excelled since the switch to Ed Walker’s yard. The four-year-old has won three of his five starts for the yard and was particularly impressive when landing a Listed event at York earlier this month. The son of Exceed And Excel clearly relishes quick ground and he now has to deal with a 5lb rise. However, he is clearly progression at a rate of knots and has to be on your shortlist. He is the clear 5/1 favourite since the ante-post market for the race opened on Monday and with a dry weather forecast throughout the week, he looks sure to play a leading role.

Commanche Falls is bidding to back up victory in the Stewards’ Cup with victory in the Ayr Gold Cup and this has been the long-term plan for Michael Dods’ charge. Up to a career high mark of 105, Commanche Falls showed an excellent turn of foot to land the big prize at Goodwood. Whilst that win came on softer ground, he also boasts winning form on a better surface and given his upward progression this term, he is another who looks sure to feature in the finish. Fans of the Ken Bruce show on Radio 2 will be willing this horse to do the business. A classy, if mercurial individual he has recorded two victory this term and arguably produced his best performance to date when powering to success at Ascot last time out. The three-year-old clearly relishes quick ground and the track at Ayr might also play to his strengths. He is now up to a career high mark of 102 and is clearly open to any amount of improvement. This is his stiffest test to date in a competitive handicap, but he looks sure to give his running.

Ostilio looks to be a fascinating runner. The six-year-old was a very smart individual for Simon Crisford who backed up victory in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2018 with success in a Group Two at Longchamp later that year. Bought for 90,000gns by Midgley in 2020, the son of New Approach had failed to land a blow in his first eight runs for the yard, but showed signs of a revival when an eye-catching fourth in the Beverley Bullet last month. Held up towards the finish, Ostilio made pleasing headway in the final furlong, sticking to the task well. If he can repeat that effort, he has live claims of getting involved in this event.

Just Frank is a really likeable individual who has won over £100,000 during his career. He has returned to form with a vengeance in the second half of the season and seemed to relish the drop back to six furlongs when a very smooth winner at Thirsk on his latest start. That plainly looks like his preferred trip given two of his three career wins have come at the distance. The three-year-old is now up to a mark of 102, but he remains unexposed and open to plenty more improvement, given he will also enjoy the likely quick ground expected at Ayr this week. Other leading players include Bielsa who has yet to win this season, but has been threatening to win a big event, whilst Gulliver, recent Listed winner Summerghand and last time out scorers Sunday Sovereign are others to note.

Elsewhere on the card, the Listed Doonside Cup takes place at 1.55pm. Juan Elcano is interesting on his Group Two second at York in July and he takes on Euchen Glen who has won over course and distance before.

In the Group Three Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes (3.05pm), Irish raider Head Mistress is a fascinating runner having won her first starts, which included Listed glory at the Curragh last time out. Crazyland has shaped with promise in a couple of competitive events recently, whilst Hala Hala Athmani is a fascinating runner having scored at Carlisle on her debut in fine fashion.

ITV Racing selections

1.55pm Ayr: Euchen Glen

2.15pm Newbury: King’s Lynn

2.30pm Ayr Mid Winster

2.50pm Newbury: Al Aasy

3.05pm Ayr: Hala Hala Athmani

3.25pm Newbury: Injazati

3.40pm Ayr: Great Ambassador

4.00pm Newbury: Dhabab

4.15pm Ayr: Hong Kong Harry