I love the Western Meeting at Ayr and one of my punting ambitions is to land the Silver/Gold Cup double.
It has eluded me for 40 years but I will keep trying and remain optimistic! I am going to give myself a chance this year and put up two in each race and hope I get one at least placed in each.
Rapid Applause has been beaten again since I put him up at Sandown recently, when he missed the break and made eye-catching headway under Frankie Dettori but was never going to get through up the far rail.
I resolved to be with him next time so I am relieved I was on holiday when he got beaten at shortish odds at Haydock recently.
Once again he didn’t enjoy the best of runs. My inclination is to forgive those efforts as part and parcel of a sprint handicappers’ lot as this horse has generally proved himself a progressive type in a relatively light career.
Hopefully he may rise to the bigger occasion.
If he doesn’t then Tim Easterby’s other runner, Quick Look, certainly has a chance to lift the prize for the stable and the case this time is much more straightforward.
This horse arrives here in terrific form, having won his last two in decent style, putting up his best ever performance last time in the William Hill Trophy at Ripon. Trip and ground are ideal and his rise in the weights has been partially offset by the very promising Scott McCullagh’s 7lbs claim (won under 5lbs claimer last time out).
This year’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup has virtually no horses who are well in or ahead of the handicapper with one blindingly obvious exception. Son Of Rest ran a cracker in the Group One Flying Five last time out, showing his best form for a while somewhat out of the blue.
His consistency has been criticised in the past but on heavy ground he has been out of the first two only once when he was fifth off a lay off in a handicap when ridden by a claimer.
He is 2lbs lower than when he won his last handicap and everything has come right for him.
Ice Age improved rapidly when encountering soft ground this time last season and has not encountered going like this in 2018, but has still run very creditably.
Eve Johnson Houghton has also cottoned on to Scott McCullagh and in a race where any edge might be vital the 7lbs looks a good move.
Horses running twice at this meeting often do well and I really feel this one is ready to win soon, despite two duck eggs recently.
At Sandown, Frankie Dettori used a lot of energy to get him to the front from a wide draw and paid the price.
On Thursday he was surprisingly held up, despite a low draw and never figured. He is better than those runs and might show up at a price in a race that is almost a re-run of Thursday.
Dave Nevison's Saturday best bets: