Ebenezer Scrooge shuffled along Parliament Street and passed the Christmas market. The first flakes of snow were fluttering down from the darkening York sky. It was Christmas Eve. The festive lights were twinkling from the fronts of the wooden stalls....
Adam McNamara on the Ayr Western meeting
- AuthorAdam McNamara
The Ayr Western meeting is a festival that never disappoints and Scotland’s flagship meeting came up with the goods yet again last week.
The Ayr Gold Cup winner Bielsa was impressive in his own right, and a lot of credit has to go to Kevin Stott for an inspired ride. Taking the decision to go for fresh ground up against the stands rail, completely contrary to the opinion of every other rider in the race was a brave one, and one that payed off. It has to be noted as well that all of Bielsa’s victories have come under the same rider, so this was no mere coincidence. It was a well thought through and brave initiative that could have easily gone the other way, but fortunately for connections on the day it went the right way.
Speaking of good rides, I was really taken by Hollie Doyle’s ride in the Firth of Clyde aboard Nazanin. Again, she took matters into her own hands and differed in opinion to the other riders to race up the middle rather than the far rail. The filly seemed to enjoy being on her own and was very gutsy in the finish. I gave Nazanin a good shout on this blog before the Princess Margaret, where she ran well, and I was a little disappointed with her run in the Lowther. She must have just had an off day at York, and hopefully she can continue her progression from Ayr. It was a good bit of placement from Archie Watson who has targeted this race with fillies of a similar profile in the past, and who’s always been confident that she was a black type filly.
Looking forward to the weekend, the top class two year olds will really come to the fore. All eyes will be on Newmarket for the Chevely Park and Middle Park stakes to see the best two year old fillies and colts blast up the Heath over six furlongs.
Starting with the Chevely Park, Sacred Bridge heads the betting. The daughter of Bated Breath is undefeated so far and had beaten a combined number of thirty seven rivals over three races before comfortably putting some decent types to bed in the Round Tower group three at the Curragh. If she arrives in the UK in similar form it’s hard to find something that could beat her. Sandrine had been top class and also undefeated before Zain Claudette, who re-opposes, lowered her colours in the Lowther. She had excuses that day and if back to her brilliant best I think she’s the main threat to the favourite, unless Zain Claudette has taken another step forward.
There aren’t any undefeated runners heading to the Middle Park, but to me this looks a hotter race with possibly a little more depth. Perfect Power has been scintillating when things have gone his way and on bare form should have the better of Armor. A little look further down the betting sees most of the runners split by only a few points, and for good reason. They’ve all had their day and they’ve all impressed at some stage. Arguably any one of these at their best could take this. I’m going to have to go with Dr Zempf to be the main danger to the favourite. They’re drawn on opposite sides so tactics will be interesting and I can’t imagine this being a straightforward race with a runaway winner. I also wouldn’t say that this is the ‘be all and end all’ decider between these young colts, and they all look hopeful for the future.
I’m getting very itchy now to get back in the saddle. I’m off to Cardiff next Wednesday for the next consultation with Geoff Graham, and I’m hoping he can give me a more concrete date for a return to riding. The shoulder feels pretty good for the stage we’re at, and although it’s not fully there yet, I couldn’t be happier with the progress. The physios and strength and conditioning coaches at Oaksey House have been putting me through my paces and they’ve done a great job to get me to this point. It’s a slow process and it can get frustrating at times but hopefully it won’t be much longer and I can get back to what I love.
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