Racing: Attache all briefed for Gold Cup mission

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The Independent Online

It might be the same sport as we witnessed at Longchamp on Sunday, but otherwise there will be little to connect with the activity in another racing capital this weekend.

The title of Scotland's premier track might be as prestigious as being the captain of a canoe, but Ayr is neverthless the place to be this week for the annual gathering known as the Western meeting. The coastal course is around 400 miles away from London, yet its very remoteness and a festival programme which mobilises many of the troops from Glasgow represent another change of venue and pace which characterise British racing.

Unlike Paris, you get big fields on either side of the running rails on the Ayrshire coast, as the home side tries to repel the southerners, most notably in Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup, a race first run in 1804.

The going rarely rides on the soft side at Ayr, such is the draining property of the ground, and that will be of benefit to one of Saturday's fancied runners, Michael Jarvis's Attache.

The son of Wolfhound, winner of two of his four starts since joining the Newmarket trainer from Lynda Ramsden, was cut from 20-1 to 14-1 by Victor Chandler yesterday and Jarvis believes the four-year-old has a "live chance" in the sprint if the track continues to dry out. It is currently riding good to soft according to the clerk of the course, Chris Kennedy.

"He's very well in himself and I'm hoping it stays dry this week," Jarvis said yesterday. "He can quicken off decent ground, but when it's soft he just gets bogged down in it. I was pleased with his victory at Haydock last time as he showed an excellent turn of foot to win and he heads to Ayr with a live chance if the ground is good."

Attache, who was well fancied for the Lincoln at the start of the campaign, has proved a different animal since being dropped in distance. Jarvis revealed the gelding's performance at home left him in no doubt where his abilities lay.

"He showed that much speed when we worked him that it seemed the natural thing was to drop him in trip," he added. "The reason he's won a couple is probably also because he had come down the handicap a bit as well."

Attache will not fail on a count of loneliness out on the Scottish turf. A total of 130 acceptors lined up for the race yesterday, including last week's Portland Handicap winner at Doncaster, Halmahera, who is 10-1 favourite with William Hill.

Darryll Holland, who replaced the injured, but now fit, Fergal Lynch at Town Moor retains the ride as he goes for his third success in the race. Holland's past winners are Royal Figurine in 1995 and Continent last year, and the jockey is already planning the same back to front tactics which saw him collect 12 months ago.

Croeso Croeso, Impressive Flight and Injaaz, all available at around 12-1, are also among the acceptors, as is the Stewards' Cup winner Bond Boy and Wokingham Stakes winner Capricho.

Amanda Perrett's unbeaten gelding Polar Way, winner of the Group Three Boland Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, has been pulled out, as has another ante-post quote in the Gerard Butler-trained Compton Banker.

The £100,000 event has a safety limit of 29 runners and final declarations must be made by 10am on Thursday morning. The first 29 eliminated will have the opportunity of gaining immediate compensation by running in the consolation race, the Ayr Silver Cup, on the Friday.

AYR GOLD CUP (Ayr, Saturday)

Tote odds: 10-1 Torosay Spring, 11-1 Impressive Flight, 12-1 Attache, Halmahera, Capricho, 14-1 Bond Bay, Injaaz, Croeso Croeso, Cubism, Curfew, Indian Spark, 20-1 Funfair Wayne, Green Line, Little Edward, Royal Millennium, The Tatling, 25-1 Antonio Canova, Artie, Budelli, Deceitful, Doctor Spin, Flying Millie, Forever Times, Hurrican Floyd, Marsad, Pic Up Sticks, Tayif, 28-1 others.

William Hill odds: 10-1 Halmahera, 12-1 Croeso Croeso, Impressive Flight, Injaaz, 14-1 Capricho (from 16-1), Cubism, Curfew, Royal Millenium (from 20-1), Torosay Spring, 16-1 Attache, Bond Boy, Pic Up Sticks (from 25-1), 20-1 Artie, Brave Burt, Budelli, Deceitful, Forever Times, Funfair Wane, Green Line, Hurricane Floyd, Little Edward, Tayif, Tom Tun, 25-1 others.