Akehurst wants six to defect for Marsad

The fuel shortage is threatening the racing programme. Officials at Ayr yesterday warned the crisis could ruin the course's three-day Western Meeting which starts tomorrow. Ayr is in more difficulty than many other courses due to its geographical position. All the main training centres are a minimum of 200 miles from the course on the west coast of Scotland.

The fuel shortage is threatening the racing programme. Officials at Ayr yesterday warned the crisis could ruin the course's three-day Western Meeting which starts tomorrow. Ayr is in more difficulty than many other courses due to its geographical position. All the main training centres are a minimum of 200 miles from the course on the west coast of Scotland.

However, the Epsom trainer Jon Akehurst, who has Marsad and Passion For Life in the Ayr Gold Cup, is confident his horses will make the journey. Akehurst is hoping for six withdrawals from the Gold Cup to allow his Marsad to run in the six-furlong handicap, which has a maximum field of 29, on Saturday. Conditions are ideal for Marsad, who needs soft ground. Marsad and Passion For Life will run in the consolation race, the Silver Cup, if they are eliminated from the Gold Cup, but the chances of them getting into the main event look good. Compton Banker, winner of the Portland at Doncaster last week, is doubtful because of the ground. Akehurst said: "We've had the Ayr Gold Cup in mind for Marsad all season and it would be extremely disappointing if he didn't make it. We've desperately been trying to get him qualified."

Rae Guest runs Roseum. He said: "This has been the target all along. We've been waiting for the autumn because she needs soft ground. She has a fair handicap mark and I'm delighted Michael Roberts rides."

Ho Leng misses the race at his local track in favour of a trip to Newbury for the Dubai Duty Free Cup. Linda Perratt, his trainer, will instead be represented by Shatin Venture. Perratt said: "He's in good shape and will appreciate the ground."

British trainers are responsible for eight of the 16 acceptors for Saturday's Irish St Leger at the Curragh. Godolphin have declared Mutafaweq and Sagamix; James Fanshawe has confirmed Arctic Owl a runner, while Richard Hannon has left in Churlish Charm. Sir Michael Stoute has declared Little Rock, but David Elsworth said it was "60-40 against" Persian Punch running. John Dunlop wants rain for Orchestra Stall, but Mark Johnston runs Yavana's Pace. Luke Comer has supplemented Chimes At Midnight at a cost of IR£21,875. Media Puzzle is one of two possibles for Dermot Weld along with Hirapour, John Oxx has entered Katiykha and Mouramara and Aidan O'Brien has Rostropovich, Lermontov and Chiang Mai in the race. O'Brien dominates Sunday's National Stakes with 11 of the 16 entries. The only British acceptor is Mark Johnston's Down To The Woods. The going at the Curragh is Good (Good to Firm on the round course) with rain forecast.

Katy Nowaitee goes for the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket a fortnight on Saturday after working well yesterday. She is 12-1 favourite for the nine-furlong handicap with Stanley. Katy Nowaitee has not run since winning the Spring Mile at Doncaster in March. Peter Harris, her trainer, said: "She had a throat infection. George Duffield will ride and I don't think her odds are unrealistic."

Courting, who is retiring to stud, ended her career by winning the John Musker Stakes at Yarmouth yesterday. William Haggas's filly had Moselle, her better-fancied stable-companion, back in third in Yarmouth's richest race. Haggas said: "Moselle never got a run and goes for the Sun Chariot Stakes."

Geoff Lake, a conditional jockey, was taken to North Tees General Hospital after being injured in a fall at Sedgefield. Tiger Talk, his mount, jumped to the right at the second last flight of hurdles, unseating Lake. His foot got caught in a stirrup and, as he fell, he pulled the gelding on top of him. The fallen horse and rider were then cannoned into by another horse.

Racing at Beverley only goes ahead today after the course guaranteed to provide the local ambulance service with fuel. Bouchra (5.05) and Mr Stylish (5.40), both well drawn over the dog-leg five furlongs, may be beneficiaries. Interesting runners at Yarmouth are Nasmatt (3.40), a half-sister to Bint Allayl, and Lycian (5.15), who escapes a penalty for winning an apprentice handicap at Leicester last week. And at Sandown, Time Away (2.45) no match for Karasta on her Newmarket debut, has an easier task.

AYR GOLD CUP (Ayr, Saturday) : Coral: 6-1 Pepperdine, Tayseer, 8-1 Compton Banker, 14-1 Marsad, 16-1 others. William Hill: 7-1 Pepperdine, Tayseer, 10-1 Compton Banker, 12-1 Marsad, 14-1 Night Flight, 16-1 others. Ladbrokes: 7-1 Pepperdine, Tayseer, 10-1 Compton Banker, 14-1 Marsad, 16-1 others.

IRISH ST LEGER (Curragh, Saturday) : Cashmans: 3-1 Arctic Owl, 5-1 Mutafaweq, 11-2 Yavana's Pace, 7-1 Little Rock, Katiykha, Chimes At Midnight, 8-1 Churlish Charm, 10-1 Media Puzzle, 14-1 others.

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