Chad Yeomans reveals his best bet on a busy day's racing at Ayr on Saturday.
The Microtech Group Handicap is a seven-furlong handicap for horses rated 0-95 and, in recent years, has been dominated by both David O’Meara.
He has won three of the last four editions, while Richard Fahey won it in 2012 and 2015.
O’Meara saddles two, who both have a very similar profile. They are both ex-French horses and, on what we’ve seen so far, will be up to winning races for their very shrewd handler.
Young Fire was purchased at the Arqana Summer Sale in July and cost €32,000.
In three runs, he has picked up £8,715 in prize money, which includes his success last time out at Haydock. He beat a mixed field of improving and exposed handicaps off a mark of 86 and has only been put up 3lbs since.
But that success, which was his first run in the UK, when he was only beaten less than 5 lengths was on bottomless ground. I don’t think he necessarily needs soft ground, but he’ll certainly be at his best on rain-softened ground.
His stable-mate is the three-year-old Nordic Fire , who is having just his second start for his new connections.
On his stable debut at Doncaster in August, he only beat one rival home, beaten a total of 17 lengths.
His French form doesn’t fill me with confidence that he’s up to being an 87-rated horse in the UK just yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he became that in the future. He hasn’t shown enough to back, but that’s not to say he won’t win.
You just can’t back him of what he’s shown so far.
Looking through the rest of the field, I’m not convinced by most of the others. That includes Giga White , who I’m sure is just coming over to keep Buffer Zone, the ante-post favourite for the Ayr Gold Cup, company on his journey. IT’s a tactic played by plenty of stables with travelling runners.
I’ve landed on Aljady , who I think may have slipped under the radar. His recent form figures of 007 do not give a true representation of his actual running.
He won three on the bounce in his first three career starts and was only beaten by two lengths on this fourth in a very competitive handicap at Glorious Goodwood. You need natural talent to start you racing career with that record.
He was then given a short break before tackling his next start at Ascot in October of last year and he finished second, only beaten a length by Tabdeed who, after winning at Doncaster last month, is now rated 103.
Fast-forward a Winter and Aljady made his season reappearance at York, being well back and managed to finish third in a handicap that has thrown up plenty of winners since.
It’s worth noting that he only had two horses behind him as they approached the final furlong and made up lots of ground to eventually finish in third place in a 21-runner race.
His next run was back at York on good to soft ground, which wouldn’t have appealed and he failed to pick up on the ground beneath him. His next effort at Goodwood of a rating of 94 was one that appeared to be better than the finishing position suggests.
On his most recent start, he finished seventh at Chester, which is one of the hardest racecourses to race in the UK. He didn’t get the best of passages and would have felt the effect from Shane Gray’s fantastic (and nearly winning) move around the outside on the eventual second, Alemaratayoum.
Now dropped back to his previous winning mark of 90, with the addition of a first-time visor, he should take plenty of beating in this race, which wouldn’t be the strongest 0-95 in history.
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