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Ayr Gold Cup: Shanghai Glory leads runners in ante-post betting

Final declarations are made on Thursday

After a thrilling St Leger meeting on Saturday, attention now turns to the Ayr Gold Cup this weekend.

It’s the richest flat sprint handicap in Europe and with 25 runners set to go to post, it should be an intriguing battle as to who comes out on top over 6f.

Although final declarations are made on Thursday, The Coral News Team take a look at the key trends associated with the race and how they apply to the form of this year’s ante-post runners and riders…

Shanghai Glory

The early favourite but not a horse who tends to do well in big fields. His only win in the past year came in the 6f Waterford Testimonial Stakes at the Curragh last October. A narrow third in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon last month sees him 12/1 favourite for the Gold Cup.

Ekhtiyaar

Roger Varian’s three-year-old has the form to launch a serious challenge this weekend at 14/1. A dual-winner at Doncaster this term, Ekhtiyaar is a progressive runner that likes to leave it late before launching his charge. The only doubt is the performance of three-year-olds in this race. They’ve only won two renewals since 1992, while Ekhtiyaar is yet to race outside of his own age category.

Sainted

A comfortable winner at Haydock and York this season, but trends suggest she won’t hack up here. The past 15 winners of the Ayr Gold Cup have all raced within six weeks of the 6f sprint. Sainted, however, does not fall into that bracket and is 14/1 as a result.

Amazour

Has only won three times in 16 starts over this distance. Ismail Mohammed’s charge did win last time out at Doncaster though, although that may not bode well for him either. Only three of the past 15 winners of the Gold Cup won their last race coming into the renewal. Amazour is 16/1 to defy the stats.

Donjuan Triumphant

The four-year-old has only won once from 14 starts in a field consisting of eight or more runners. But comfort comes in the form of Andrew Balding. The trainer won this race in 2013 with Highland Colori, while the Balding family has claimed the Gold Cup four times since 1986. Donjuan isn’t fancied at 16/1 though, especially given he hasn’t won over 6f since 2015.

Growl

This is a horse that the Coral News Team like at 16/1. He hasn’t had the best of times this season but Richard Fahey’s charge was only narrowly beaten by Brando in last year’s renewal. Connections clearly fancy the five-year-old here again after a season of being blitzed in Group company. He’s long-odds for a trainer that won this race with Don’t Touch in 2015.

Johnny Barnes

Would be a surprise if he runs here. John Gosden’s charge has only been tried three times over 6f and he’s been soundly beaten on each attempt. At 16/1 there are likelier options at a better price.

Muntadab

The going will be key if Muntadab is to launch an assault at the weekend. Roger Fell’s three-year-old loves the soft ground and if he can get his ideal conditions he’ll be an interesting proposition. If the rain comes then the son of Invincible Spirit looks handy at 16/1.

The Wagon Wheel

Another Richard Fahey runner, who will drop down in class after going close in the Beverley Bullet earlier this month. Conforms to a number of the important trends but the inexperience of being three-years-old may count against her at 16s.

Tommy Taylor

Trainer Kevin Ryan has a superb record in the Gold Cup. The Hambleton-based handler won last year with Brando and also claimed the 2011 and 2012 renewals. Tommy Taylor has an excellent chance to continue that fine record after landing a Listed contest at York last time out. Like several others, the three-year-old relishes the soft ground and connections will be praying for rain ahead of the weekend. 16/1 to do the business.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing