Bamford dreams of Ayr triumph

WATCH out for the in-form duo of trainer David O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope as they look to land today’s feature William Hill Ayr Gold Cup with Watchable.

The lightly-raced four-year-old is favourite for the valuable six-furlong handicap after landing a valuable prize on Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh on Sunday.

The slight worry for connections is the short space between the two races.

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“I dare dream, I am an optimistic guy and you have to dream,” said owner Philip Bamford. “It was always going to be a big ask to do both races, but he was third in the big handicap at Ascot and we were desperate to win the Irish one. I’m more hopeful than optimistic as it is quite quick, but he hasn’t given us a reason not to run.

“I walked the course from the three-furlong marker at the Curragh and it is a fair old climb from there, and he’s run some hellish races at seven furlongs, so the distance should be fine.

“He’s drawn on the far side (in stall five) plenty of people picked high numbers but there’s plenty of pace where he is and he’s against horses like Jack Dexter, Alben Star and Hamza, so there’s plenty of pace on over there and I think they’ll be spread across the track.

“One thing Mr O’Meara is insistent on is he will be a much better horse next year, so that is something to look forward to.”

Watchable’s jockey Danny Tudhope, The Yorkshire Post’s guest racing columnist, grew up near Ayr and believes that the horse can take two quick races in his stride.

“They say he has come out of his race well,” said Tudhope, who is riding on a crest of a wave after winning his first Group One earlier this month aboard the O’Meara-trained G Force.

“He’s a good sort of horse who hopefully next year could develop into a Group horse.

“I think he takes his races quite quick, you are never 100 per cent sure when a race comes up fairly quickly but everyone is happy with the horse and he wouldn’t be taking his chance otherwise.”

Jim Goldie carries plenty of Scottish hopes as he sends out his two sprint stalwarts Jack Dexter and Hawkeyethenoo in a bid to saddle the first home winner of the historic sprint since Roman Warrior in 1975.

Meanwhile, Hambleton’s Amy Ryan will attempt to become the first female rider to win the race when she partners Blaine for her father Kevin.

“He won the Gimcrack at two and has come back to his two-year-old days this year,” she said.

“He’s full of himself and he has shown he has retained all his ability.

“These big handicaps are a bit of a lottery.

“It all depends how you jump, how you break and luck in running, but he’s pretty straightforward and I’m looking forward to it. He’s going well at home.”

Ryan also saddles 2012 hero Captain Ramius, Hamza and York Glory as he goes for a fourth Gold Cup triumph.

Jump jockey Jason Maguire made the perfect comeback after six months out of the saddle through injury when winning on Bonne Fee at Newton Abbot.

It was his first ride back since losing part of his liver after being kicked in the stomach in a horrific fall.

The winner was trained by Kim Bailey, who later confirmed that his stable star Harry Topper is on target to defend his Charlie Hall Chase title at Wetherby on November 1, the first major race of the 2014-15 National Hunt season.