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Ayr preview: Ancient Cross ticks all the right boxes

Ancient Cross can take advantage of a drop in class to score an overdue success in the 6f handicap on today’s card at Ayr (16.25).

The Mick Easterby trained gelding is on a long losing run, having not scored since landing the 2013 running of the 27-runner class 2 Ayr Silver Cup at this venue off a mark of 97.

However, the 11-year-old has run well on numerous occasions in competitive affairs and is now able to race off a mark of just 72.

That is 25lb lower than when last successful, and gives Ancient Cross major claims on the pick pf his form.

The veteran also comes into the race on the back of an eye-catching run at Doncaster when keeping on well to finjish a one length fifth of 15 Bashina in a class 4 contest.

It was a run which suggested Ancient Cross’s time was near, and the son of Machiavellian now drops down into class 5 company for the first time in nearly six years.

This represents by far the easiest opportunity Ancient Cross has faced for a long time and, with Graham Gibbons now taking over in the saddle, everything points to a huge run.

In the 1m 7f handicap (14.40), Irish raider Lake Shore Drive is a fascinating contender now stepped up in trip and may well have got in lightly.

The John Feane trained gelding has only had three starts, and ran well on the second of those when third at Galway.

Lake Shore Drive kept on nicely without being unduly knocked about and finished four lengths in front of the fourth home Van Schaick who is rated 77.

The three-year-old backed that up with a similar performance at the same venue when fifth of 16 to Alveea in a 1m 4f maiden, leaving the distinct impression that there was more to come.

Lake Shore Drive has been allotted an opening handicap mark of 72 on the back of that effort, and that could well underestimate his ability given his unexposed profile now given a stiffer stamina test.

Selections:
13.40: Weld Al Khawaneej
14.10: Top of The Glas
14.40: Lake Shore Drive (NB)
15.15: Dove Mountain
15.50: Mr Sundowner
16.25: Ancient Cross (NAP)
17.00: Edgar Balthazar
17.30: A Lovable Rogue