Steve Hughes has two selections from the single flat meeting in Britain today at Ayr
Today is definitely one of those quiet Sundays in the British racing calendar that happens from time to time, with only two meetings and nothing of any great quality. However Ayr does have a succession of handicaps with plenty of Scottish form to go on so I am sticking with the West of Scotland track for both of today’s selections.
Ayr 3.30: Sound Advice
What did look by far the most competitive contest on the card has been somewhat decimated by four non-runners, the most significant of which is Balducci which would have been my selection otherwise. However the defection of this resurgent front-runner should leave the way clear for Sound Advice to dominate with conditions ideal for the 5yo.
Hailing from the very much in-form Keith Dalgleish yard, he made a fine start to 2014 with a succession of consistent efforts on the All Weather. However it was the race he found easiest to get to the front at Southwell at the end of March that he ended up winning and by an authoritative margin of 6l.
He struggled to maintain that form on turf in the spring, with the softer ground not helping, but two runs on quicker ground in June have seen him back to his best. A narrow second to the progressive Genius Boy at Redcar was followed by a fine effort when second in the Carlisle Bell recently, arguably a career best performance. Despite being hit by a 5lb rise, this race suddenly takes on a whole new complexion with all the withdrawals and he should be able to obtain and then utilize an easy lead.
Ayr 4.30: L’Ami Louis
Formerly a useful fast ground 6f handicapper for Henry Candy, L’Ami Louis has made little impression this year since joining Ian Semple. However a return to 6f, faster ground and a drop in class can combine to bring the 6yo very much into the equation here.
For a horse his age, L’Ami Louis has not had too much racing with only 20 starts and two wins. Both victories were gained on officially firm ground including a Haydock handicap off a mark of 82. He continued to run well in 2012 with a narrow defeat off 89 at Newmarket and a fifth place in the Great St Wilfrid consolation race at Ripon.
However he seemed somewhat in the grip of the handicapper last term, though fourth places at Chester and Newmarket confirmed he was not a lost cause. In four runs for Semple this year he has yet to figure. However three of those came over 5f and/or soft ground, both of which were clearly unsuitable for him. His one run over 6f was in a much better race at York where he finished in a respectable mid-division position. Dropped a further 5lbs since then, this is a far weaker race and quite a few of these would prefer slower going, whereas he will relish the fast conditions.
2pts win – Sound Advice – 3.30 Ayr (13/8 general)
1pt win – L’Ami Louis – 4.30 Ayr (6/1 BetVictor)