Alben Star deserves Yes vote for consistency in Ayr Gold

In theory, finding the winner of Scotland’s most famous race should be less complicated than normal

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The Independent Online

Decisions, decisions. It has been a week of hard choices north of the border. Should Scotland be an independent country? Should women be allowed golf membership at St Andrews? And now for the big one: which horse to back in the Ayr Gold Cup?

In theory, finding the winner of Scotland’s most famous race should be less complicated than normal on what is still summer ground, favouring those who have been in good recent form, such as Alben Star, second to the smart Tropics in a Listed contest at Newmarket last time.

Few deserve to win a prize like this more than Alben Star (3.50 Ayr), who has been knocking on the door in big sprints all season. What may swing things his way this time is the booking of the promising apprentice Jack Garritty, who is excellent value for his 5lb claim.

A single-figure draw might be seen as a significant disadvantage after high numbers dominated yesterday’s sprint finishes, but such evidence has proved misleading at this meeting.

Another drawn low, Watchable, installed as favourite after winning a big Irish prize last weekend, also ticks most boxes, but his trainer David O’Meara has voiced concerns about whether this task will be asking a bit much of one so relatively inexperienced.

Watchable’s stablemate Louis The Pious, runner-up in last year’s Ayr Gold Cup and a winner at Royal Ascot in June, may be a better, if riskier, proposition at odds of around 25-1. The six-year-old’s profile is erratic and O’Meara makes a switch of headgear from a hood to a visor to help keep him sweet, but big fields often bring out the best in him.

Grand National-winning  jockey Jason Maguire, who came close to losing his life in a fall on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival last March, won on his first ride back aboard Bonne Fee at Newton Abbot on Friday.

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