FIRE BRIGADE is a flaming good bet. He’s yet to hit the target this summer but the heat wave has been no good to this soft-ground lover.
Fire Brigade can get us off to a good startPA:Press Association
There’s been nothing wrong with his form recently in races that haven’t set up for his hold-up style. With conditions in his favour things should pan out better today.
Gulf Of Poets beat my fancy on soft ground at Haydock in April. He’s 10lbs worse off today and didn’t run too well when returning from a summer break at Ripon last month.
Chatez was runner-up behind Fire Brigade at Leicester when returning from two-and-a-half years off the track last October.
He’s only been seen once since – over hurdles – and has clearly had his problems.
Well-bred Dayking looks a great prospect. He won a Catterick novice race in May and only went down by head when returning from a break at Kempton last month.
It’s hard to be confident he will be at his best on testing ground.
Borodin won a good little race on soft ground at Thirsk last time. He’s got more races in him and he could easily play a hand today.
It’s a big ask for Dolphin Vista to come out two days after his Listed Doonside Cup success under such a big weight on testing ground.
GET ON TREND Who will win the Ayr Gold Cup this Saturday?
AL QAHWA looks solid Silver. He started the season well when runner-up at Ripon but the quicker ground in the summer checked his progress.
Last weekend’s effort at the Curragh was a step in the right direction and today’s softer ground should be ideal.
David O’Meara’s hope is now at his lowest handicap rating since making a successful British debut at York last season.
His second to my Gold Cup fancy Flying Pursuit last season also makes him nicely weighted and he’s got plenty of form in big-field handicaps.
The ground is also the key to stablemate Cold Stare. He stormed through from the rear to win over 7f at Haydock last time.
That stamina is likely to come in handy but I’m not convinced he’s the right type for this sort of race.
Quick Look is in the form of his life but his hat-trick bid would need another career-best performance.
I can see Clive Cox’s pair running well. Snazzy Jazzy – unbeaten in three runs last season – has taken time to find his form this year.
Last month’s Goodwood sixth was better and he is proven on today’s soft ground.
Stablemate Louie De Palma is falling in the weights after some uninspiring efforts but I’m sure he has a race in him. If he handles the ground he could go well at a big price.
Templegate's TV tips
1.45 Newbury – Mountain Angel: ‘Today’s track should suit him much better’
2.00 Ayr – Fire Brigade: ‘With conditions in his favour he has a big chance’
2.20 Newbury – Desert Encounter: ‘In top form and this is his level’
2.40 Ayr – Al Qahwah: ‘Back to form with a good effort at the Curragh last week’
2.55 Newbury – True Mason: ‘Karl Burke is in flying form and this colt looks up to this’
3.15 Ayr – Firelight: ‘This looks easier than her recent tasks’
3.30 Newbury – El Astronaute: ‘Never runs a bad race and in the mix again’
3.50 Ayr – Flying Pursuit: ‘Loves the mud and is a course and distance winner already’
FIRELIGHT has the spark to land the William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes.
She wandered around in the closing stages but showed plenty of fight to give weight to some promising fillies from big yards at Newmarket in August.
That was a rare weekend when rain turned the ground soft and it’s a big help to be proven on today’s conditions.
Her two runs since have come on quicker going in Group races and she’s not been at all disgraced despite circumstances conspiring against her.
This is an ideal opportunity for her with Andrew Balding still going really well.
Queen Of Bermuda looks ready for the step up to 6f.
She won a French Listed prize before crossing the Channel again to chase home subsequent Flying Childers hero Soldier’s Call in a Group 3.
The easy ground could be the key to her and she looks the big danger.
Glass Slippers is a good prospect but her form is not as good. She overcome traffic problems to win at Chester but she does need to prove she’s up to this level.
Flying Pursuit (yellow) will love conditions at AyrGetty Images – Getty
PUT your William Hill Ayr Gold Cup faith in a Flying machine. Conditions have come right for mud-lover FLYING PURSUIT.
The hot summer has been no good for Tim Easterby’s speedster but he took advantage of a rare wet spell when successful at York in July.
He was second home of the stands’ side group when sixth behind Gunmetal in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last month and I fancy him to turn those tables on the easier ground.
My fancy was a course-and-distance winner last season and he will take some stopping if getting to the lead on the far side.
Kevin Ryan has won this race three times in the last seven years. He’s fires four bullets at this year’s prize and I reckon Tommy Taylor could be the pick of them.
He won a York Listed race last season and he bounced back from some ordinary efforts when a close third at Ascot a couple of weeks ago. He’s still nicely treated.
It’s not surprising Son Of Rest has been well backed in the ante-post market. He was only beaten half-a-length by Havana Grey in the Group 1 Flying Five at the Curragh last week.
I’m just not sure he’s anywhere near as good over 6f and the testing ground could easily stretch his stamina beyond breaking point.
Perfect Pasture, Muntadab, Major Jumbo and G Force are others capable of running well.
GOLD CUP FEVER Latest odds, tips and TV schedule for the Ayr Gold Cup
MOUNTAIN ANGEL should continue to climb the ranks. He bolted up in the manner of a smart prospect at Ascot in May and he’s put in some solid efforts since.
Roger Varian’s ace found all sorts of trouble when a fast-finishing second at Sandown three weeks ago.
Today’s flatter track and long straight should suit him much better and any more rain would help his chance.
Adamant hasn’t stood much racing. His Salisbury win was his only start of last season and he returned from a three-month break this term to score at Chelmsford.
He got an easy lead that day and I can’t see him getting such a soft time today.
Stylehunter did well to finish sixth in the Britannia at Royal Ascot considering he raced further back than ideal. That was sandwiched by wide-margin wins and this definitely looks his right trip.
Beringer is wonderfully consistent. He should run another sound race and York winner Pivoine is another with obvious claims.
Roger Varian can strike with Mountain AngelGetty Images – Getty
DESERT ENCOUNTER should give David Simcock his fourth straight win in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup.
The hat-trick was completed by my fancy 12 months ago to add to impressive record outside Group 1 races.
He’s never been able to cut it at the top level but he made no mistake in a Windsor Listed race last month. It’s hard to see how he won’t go well.
Mirage Dancer is sure to be popular after a smooth Goodwood win in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes.
The penalty he picks up for that win makes life a little tricky and I’m not sure the slight drop in trip will help.
I was tempted to chance Young Rascal. There was a lot to like about the way he booked his Derby ticket with victory in the Chester Vase when seeing off Dee Ex Bee and Hunting Horn.
It was therefore disappointing to see him finished a well-beaten seventh at Epsom. He’s been off since and it’s far too early to be writing him off.
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STAY True in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes. TRUE MASON was up against it in France last month when trying to give weight to top fillies Pretty Pollyanna and Signora Cabello.
That was a decent effort to finish third especially as he was switched off in the rear in a contest dominated by the prominent racers.
This slightly calmer waters and he should give in-form Karl Burke another Group prize.
Shine So Bright has been running well in Group 2 races since making a winning debut at Nottingham.
His third behind Emaraaty Ana in the Gimcrack at York was sound enough but I’m not sure that was the strongest race for the grade.
He also has it to find with True Mason on a line through Richmond Stakes winner Land Force.
Kessaar looks John Gosden’s first string with Frankie Dettori in the saddle. He was impressive in a Kempton Group 3 a couple of weeks ago but he might well be at his best on the all-weather.
Garrus didn’t beat much at Newcastle last month but he shouldn’t be beaten with that stick. He’s a nice prospect and he could easily be up to this level.
Gimcrack fourth The Irish Rover had the form to win a valuable sales race at Doncaster last week so it was disappointing to see him check out tamely in the closing stages. He’s not progressing.
El Astronaute (right) continues to run well and is bound to be involved againPA:Press Association
EL ASTRONAUTE is out of this world. He’s used his terrific pace to develop into a smart sprinter this season with a couple of wins at York and a string of good efforts.
There’s no doubt he’s got the potential to win a race at this Group 3 level. He was only beaten a head in a Listed contest at Doncaster last week on ground softer than he cares for.
As long as there’s no more significant rain he should have a good chance with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
Sioux Nation will find this easier than some of the tough gigs he’s been on this season.
Four of his last five races came in Group 1 contests and the other was when taking on lightning-fast Battaash at Goodwood.
He wasn’t beaten far when third at the Curragh last weekend but it will not be easy for this three-year-old to give weight to older horses.
Take Cover was fifth in that Irish Group 1. He’s getting on a bit but still has tremendous pace as he showed when winning the Beverley Bullet earlier in the month.
He’s another who could do with the wind drying the ground out.
Equilateral didn’t achieve much when landing a three-runner race from the front at Leicester and he’d earlier had his limitations exposed in Group races.
2.00 Fire Brigade (nb)
2.40 Al Qahwa (nap)
3.50 Flying Pursuit
4.55 Stamp Hill
5.30 Fools And Kings
2.25 Five Helmets
3.00 Dr Richard Kimble
4.45 Preacher Man
5.20 Naples Bay
5.50 Admiral Rooke
1.40 Brian Epstein
2.15 Poet’s Society
3.25 Lord Riddiford
4.00 Eternal Destiny
1.45 Mountain Angel (treble)
2.20 Desert Encounter
2.55 True Mason
3.30 El Astronaute
4.05 Coup De Gold
5.15 Jackpot Royal
2.10 El Gumryah
2.45 Game Player
3.55 Coeur De Lion
5.35 Captain Colby
5.10 Fly True
5.45 Langley Vale
6.45 Big Brave Bob
7.15 We Know
7.45 Howardian Hills
8.15 Felix The Poet