Horse Racing tips: Can Orazio finally crack a big sprint handicap in the Ayr Gold Cup

Timeform’s Tony McFadden highlights two names to note for Saturday glory.

ayr-timeform Flat racing


Timeform give us their three things to look out for this weekend at Newbury, Ayr and the Curragh.

Third time lucky for Orazio?

Punters are likely to have their loyalty tested in the Ayr Gold Cup with ORAZIO the favourite at the time of writing for another of the season’s top sprint handicaps.

The Charlie Hills-trained four-year-old has already been sent off favourite for the Wokingham and Stewards’ Cup this season and let his supporters down both times but, for those prepared to excuse him those defeats, he remains very much of interest from a mark that is now 1 lb less than at Royal Ascot and Goodwood.

Orazio didn’t run badly when sixth in the Wokingham, just seeming caught out for pace under the firmer conditions, but he then disappointed when much further down the field at Goodwood back on softer ground – too soft, maybe, as he’s not proven on heavy ground – where he travelled well but was rather caught in no-man’s-land on the outside of his group with no cover.

Exciting Mister Sketch one to note in Mill Reef Stakes

Gimcrack Stakes winner LAKE FOREST sets the standard in Newbury’s Mill Reef Stakes and that’s with the 3 lb penalty he picks up for winning at York last month. However, Lake Forest sprung a 16/1 surprise that day in winning what looked a substandard renewal at the time, while the form has hardly been franked by those that have run since. Additionally, Lake Forest has done all his racing on ground firmer than good so may have different conditions to cope with on Saturday.

ELITE STATUS is another with leading claims on his best form and he made a big impression, in particular, when winning the listed National Stakes at Sandown in May. There was a lot to like, too, about the way he won the Prix de Cabourg at Deauville on his first try at six furlongs, but he was a beaten favourite in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in between those wins and came up short when raised in class again for the Prix Morny back at Deauville last time.

HAATEM– down the field in the Gimcrack when last seen – beat the subsequent Champagne Stakes winner Iberian when previously winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but that didn’t look a good renewal overall and he too could prove vulnerable to something more progressive.

Just such a candidate is Eve Johnson Houghton’s colt Mister Sketch, who improved on an encouraging debut at Newbury when landing the odds impressively by almost 10 lengths in a novice at Salisbury last month. He looked a smart prospect there and is well worth his place in this field.

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Saturday’s Racing Tips