Ayr Preview: Cobjayisland weighted to go well
Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell is beginning to hit form and her Cobjayisland looks weighted to take all the beating in the 2m 4f handicap chase at Ayr today (2.40).
The gelding was a point winner who opened his account over the obstacles at the first time of asking when staying on gamely to land a novice handicap chase at Hexham off a mark of 105.
The seven-year-old got put up to 112 for that success, and after finishing a distant fourth in a decent contest at Aintree ran really well last time out when runner-up to Bearly Legal in a class 4 contest at Musselburgh.
Cobjayisland made a couple of mistakes and got hampered before staying on to be beaten six lengths and the form has a strong look to it as the fourth home reaping Reward, who was 11 1/2 lengths behind the selection, has since come out and won a decent class 3 contest off 123.
With the handicapper having since dropped Cobjay another 1lb to 110, it makes the lightly-raced son of Heron Island look well-treated if building on that effort.
Other pluses are that Cobjayisland has form on testing ground and the services off Craig Nichol is the saddle who is one of the best young riders in the country and unbelievable value for his 3lb claim.
Taking it into account, Cobjayisland is just 2lb higher than when last successful and that makes him the one to beat in this line-up.
Russell looks to have claims of landing a quick-fire double on the card with Saphir River in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (3.10).
The gelding is not the easiest to catch right, but has run some solid races in hot company and having been placed of a rating as high as 139 is now running off 125.
That is just 1lb higher than when the nine-year-old easily landed a class 3 handicap hurdle in the mud at Wetherby in December 2013 by 3 1/4 lengths and makes him look very well-treated on the pick of his form.
Although Saphir River was well-beaten last time out when 12th of 20 to Unique De Cotte at Cheltenham, his chances were effectively ended with a bad blunder at the fourth and the son of Slicky had previously shaped with bags of promise on seasonal reappearance at Aintree.
Saphir stayed on nicely to finish a 4 1/2 length fourth of 10 to Spirit Of Shanley at the Merseyside venue and the form looks strong in the context of this contest in which he is now able to race off 1lb lower.
12.30: Sir Vinski
1.35: Love Marmalade
2.40: Cobajayisland (NAP)
3.10: Saphir River (NB)
3.45: Baby Bach