Pearl can pip Hawkeyethenoo's home challenge
Last week it was Camelot, named as though to restore a lost kingdom, who sought the first Triple Crown since 1970. Today Hawkeyethenoo, a lesser animal if himself also auspiciously christened, attempts to become the first horse since 1975 to keep Scotland's richest prize north of the border.
The problem is that, while it might seem typical if he were to see off 25 evenly matched rivals over six furlongs of mud when Camelot could not outclass his rivals at odds of 2-5, the chances are that others will prove better handicapped or better drawn in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
Win, lose or draw, though, the way he has thrived for Jim Goldie testifies to the benefits available to horses trained in Scotland – home, also, to a number of flourishing jumping yards. Hawkeyethenoo reached a new peak in the similarly hectic Stewards' Cup at Goodwood, but Goldie feels that the testing conditions today will not suit him.
Hawkeyethenoo could manage only a midfield finish in similar ground last year, after all, when Our Jonathan bolted up. The latter, clearly primed for the defence, has been well backed off a mark just 1lb higher, while a strong case might be made for a dozen others. A presentable shortlist, however, might comprise The Cheka, Pintura, Waffle and Pearl Ice.
Having proved ideally suited by this trip and ground in Group company, The Cheka makes only his second career start in a handicap. Pintura is unexposed both for his new stable and as a sprinter, while Waffle's long losing run will some day be redressed by something spectacular in this grade or better. But less indulgence is required by his stablemate, Pearl Ice (3.30).
Having managed just three starts in his first two seasons, Pearl Ice joined David Barron and made rapid strides in soft ground this spring, desperately unlucky at Thirsk and then really impressive at Ripon. His next start, just three days later, came too soon and he then disappointed on faster going at Windsor. He was been castrated in the meantime and there is a significant air of purpose to the way his excellent trainer has put him aside for today and he looks good value at 20-1 with the sponsors.
Goldie sends a couple of respected raiders down to Newmarket for the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial, but the Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old Courtesy Call (3.55) has age on his side and promises better still for the longest trip he has yet attempted.
Channel 4 also has cameras at Newbury, where Mister Music (3.10) can prove himself ideally suited by a big field in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap. His jockey, Richard Hughes, continued his runaway surge to a first title with another double at the track yesterday, after riding six winners on Wednesday. He sounded impressed by Wentworth, trained by Richard Hannon for the Coolmore partners, after the York maiden winner ran down Chief Havoc in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes – a race that has announced many good horses over the years.
"I think I went by a good horse," the jockey said. "He's still weak and needs a winter on his back."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Refreshestheparts (8.50 Wolverhampton)
Surprise Moment (3.20 Newmarket)
Latest in Sport
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United? 'My next move will be a surprise' says PSG striker
Ashes 2015 live: Latest score and updates with Australia on the brink of humiliating defeat after Jimmy Anderson claims David Warner wicket
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: Steve Finn claims five wickets as England close in on beating Australia in third Test inside three days at Edgbaston
Mario Balotelli told he has no future at Liverpool as striker trains away from first-team
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 As the world mourned the death of Cecil the lion, five endangered elephants were killed in Kenya
- 4 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
While we fixate on Calais, the UK Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...
£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...