Ayr was frustrating for everyone, but spare a thought for the course:
What happened at Ayr last week was hugely frustrating for everyone in the industry. A lot of people were upset and have said things in the heat of the moment about how the situation was handled.
I had travelled up with my family on Thursday and was due to ride there all three days but these things happen - it was just one of those things. We move on. And remember no one was going to be more upset than Ayr. It was their showpiece Flat fixture after all.
Ayr did make a positive out of a desperate situation by opening the doors to the track on the Saturday and to judge by the crowds that was a masterstroke in the circumstances.
Fingers crossed all goes well on Tuesday, when the Flat fixture will be staged on the hurdles course.
Get on Knotted each-way:
The Ayr Gold Cup itself has been transferred to Haydock and fair play to the Jockey Club and 32 Red for stepping in.
There’s £56,000 to the winner for the renamed 32Red Gold Cup and it looks just as competitive. We just need to keep our fingers firmly crossed that the weather does not intervene. It’s heavy already and more rain is forecast.
Get Knotted has retained his place in the line-up and has been a model of consistency for most of the season. He was second in the Ayr Silver Cup last year and still seems in good form. A stiff six furlongs on an easy surface should be right up his street. He’s got a fair each-way chance.
Rock solid chance:
My best chance at Haydock lies with Lord Of The Rock in the 32Red.Com Handicap. He’s a horse we think the world of.
He’s five years old but he has only had 10 races so we still might not have got to the bottom of him. He’s had a few issues and Michael Dods has been patient with him and given him plenty of time since his win at York in July. He will handle the conditions better than most and I think he can get my Saturday off to the perfect start.
It’s great to have a Saturday ride for Richard Fahey in the shape of Powerallied, who I ride in the Nationwidevehiclecontracts.Co.Uk Handicap. He was a comfortable winner at Chester last time and has won on soft, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in the mix.
Amazing Red will run a good race in the 32Red Handicap. He won his maiden under me and I rode him at York on his penultimate run, when they went very steady, which didn’t really suit.
He ran a good race a fortnight ago, when second at Doncaster, and I think this step up to one mile and six furlongs will bring out more improvement.
King's Gift has Cambridgeshire claim:
King’s Gift, a horse I know very well, will be gunning for the big race on Saturday, the Betfred Cambridgeshire.
It will be the first time I haven’t ridden him and Callum Rodriguez takes the reins, claiming a valuable 5lb. I don’t think he’s got many more winners to go before that claim reduces so trainer Michael Dods wouldn’t be wasting his claim here.
King’s Gift has been highly tried this year in Group company, which tells you how highly he is regarded. He has a low weight and looks a massive price to me.
Zarak can take advantage of Enable stats:
It’s the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Sunday. Of course, I would like to be riding Enable if I had a choice, but she looks plenty short enough at 4-5 and I read that no three-year-old filly trained in Britain or Ireland has won the Arc.
I think Zarak represents the best value. The French horses seem to have been overlooked in all the build-up, but here we have an Aga Khan-owned and bred son of the 2008 Arc winner, Zarkava.
He was a Group One winner last time up and has the master tactician Christophe Soumillon in the saddle. He could spring a surprise.
An Edge for Sunday:
I will be watching on from Musselburgh, where House Edge could represent my best chance in the Save The Children Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes.
The penny dropped late on on his debut at Sandown and finished the race off well. You’d expect him to come on a fair bit for that and Michael Bell doesn’t send them all that way for a haircut.