Ayr preview: Ayr Silver Cup (14.35)
The David O’Meara trained gelding has gradually worked his way back to form this season, finishing a fine fifth of 15 in the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton and an excellent fourth of 13 to the ultra-progressive Don’t Touch in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon two starts back.
Eccleston then got back to winning ways when posting a career-best effort to land a 20-runner contest at Thirsk last month, scoring with more in hand than the 3/4 length winning margin suggests.
The four-year-old veered left as the gates opened, but showed plenty of pace to make up the lost ground and came with a surging run from the furlong marker to win going away.
Given how the race panned it was was a cracking performance, and one which suggested Eccleston was right at the top of his game.
Although now 5lb higher in the weights, Eccleston finished third in a conditions’ contest last season off a rating of 104 so still looks well-treated of a revised mark of 95.
The son of Acclamation is also clearly suited by the hustle and bustle of big field handicaps, and with Danny Tudhope in the saddle everything looks in place for a big run.
There are plenty of dangers in a wide open contest, and Northgate Lad looks a big player on the pick of his form and decent each-way value.
The Brian Ellison trained gelding has won two of his eight starts and also posted two cracking efforts to be placed in decent contests.
They include a fourth of 16 to Twilight Son in a valuable class 2 contest at York when beaten just three lengths.
The winner is a very exciting prospect who has gone on to land the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock and is now rated 117, and the third home Magical Memory went on to sluice up in a competitive contest at Newmarket before landing the Stewards’ Cup in terrific style at Goodwood.
That is very strong form, and suggests that Northgate Lad should be up to winning races of his current mark of 97.
Although the three-year-old has failed to shine in his last two outings, Northgate Lad hails from a shrewd yard and it would be no surprise to see him bounce back.
Coral’s top tip: Ecclestone has plenty going for him in a wide open renewal of the Ayr Silver Cup. Northgate Lad looks decent each-way value