Fresh off the back of his first Group 1 success with the progressive sprinter G Force, trainer David O’Meara added another feather to his cap by taking the Ayr Gold Cup in convincing style with his big handicap specialist Louis the Pious on Saturday.
The Nawton-based handler can do no wrong at present as he looks to surpass last season’s record tally of 136 winners, and having broken his record prize money, O’Meara’s reputation as the fastest-improving trainer gains credibility every day.
Armed with three live chances in the race, O’Meara’s Highland Acclaim and Watchable could only watch on as stablemate Louis the Pious grabbed the favoured stands rail under jockey James Doyle and came comfortably clear in the final furlong to land a major gamble winning at 10/1 having been available at 33/1 in places the night before.
With O’Meara admitting it was a major advantage to be drawn high he also highlighted the use of a visor contributing to the Royal Ascot winner’s second big race victory of the season.
“He was drawn well again this year and he is a good horse. Sometimes he can run an indifferent kind of race but on his day, he’s very good, as we saw at Ascot,” he said.
“We put the visor on him because Fran Berry rode him the last day at Ascot and thought it might just help him a little bit, and he was right.
“We wanted to save it to stick it on on the big day and this was the big day”
The success of both trainer and jockey didn’t end there either as pilot Doyle completed a 769/1 treble as he claimed the Ayr Silver Cup aboard Huntsman Close and the opening Nursery on Power Play to cap a memorable afternoon.
O’Meara’s fine afternoon was rounded off with victory in the Microtech Support Handicap as his Earth Drummer (7/2 fav) ridden by stable jockey Danny Tudhope claimed first prize.
Kingman, the winner of four group one races and winner of six out of his seven races has been retired, and is set to take his place next to Frankel at Banstead Manor Stud.
He was expected to take on Australia in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot before a trip to the USA to take in the Breeders Cup but unfortunately a throat infection has ruled him out and Gosden was unwilling to rush his stable star back, but said: “He is the most exciting colt I’ve ever trained.”
The Cambridgeshire meeting takes centre stage this week down in Newmarket providing top class racing Thursday and Friday before its showpiece The Cambridgshire Handicap on Saturday.
A potentially 35-runner handicap is never going to be easy to solve but with John Gosden mob-handed it may be best to side with him and in particular his fast improving four-year-old Cornrow.
Gosden has won the race twice in the last seven runnings and with Cornrow fresh after coming back from injury for an autumn campaign he should be able to show enough improvement to win this race off a relatively low weight.
Likely favourite Air Pilot is unlikely to make the cut as he is too low down the weights so I would suggest backing Cornrow at 10/1 before the final declarations are made as the price will shorten.
Finally, York winner Tiggy Wiggy runs in the Cheveley Park Stakes on Saturday at Newmarket with a view to running in Europe’s best sprint race the Prix De L’Abbaye.
It would be very disappointing if she couldn’t beat this opposition having already beaten Anthem Alexander last time out and the other closest rival High Celebrity was beaten on her last visit to Newmarket by Arabian Queen who has since been well beaten.
All form lines point to another victory for Richard Hannon’s star filly and although you won’t get rich at odds of 11/8, you should get richer.
Top tips: Cornrow 10/1 (Cambridgeshire Handicap) Saturday 3.50 Newmarket; Tiggy Wiggy 11/8 (Cheveley Park Stakes) Saturday 3.10 Newmarket