Rain fears cast cloud over Tropics’ Gold Cup tilt

Robert Winston, spotted cap, coaxes Tropics to victory at York. Dean Ivory hopes for more of the same in Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup. Picture: PA
Robert Winston, spotted cap, coaxes Tropics to victory at York. Dean Ivory hopes for more of the same in Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup. Picture: PA
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Trainer Dean Ivory would prefer the rain to stay away for his William Hill Ayr Gold Cup hope Tropics.

The Godolphin cast-off has been a revelation this season, surging up the handicap ranks by 21lb and winning a Listed race at Newmarket last time out.

He finished sixth when favourite for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood but Ivory believes the draw was against him that day and regular pilot Jim Crowley thinks he would have won with a more favourable berth.

“He was drawn on the wrong side in the Stewards’ Cup, he hit the front and was out on his own and then came over to the stands side to get some company,” said Ivory ahead of Saturday’s showpiece. “It was a shame, if he’d been drawn on that side to begin with I think he’d have been there or thereabouts and Jim thinks he’d have won – I’m sure he probably would have done when you see his performance last time at Newmarket.

“He won the race nicely, he came from off the pace and picked the bridle up. He won convincingly and I think we’ll keep finding more and more with this horse.

“The trouble with the big races like the Stewards’ Cup and the Ayr Gold Cup is they are a cavalry charge, you need to be drawn on the right side and every­thing needs to go your way. I wouldn’t want it too soft, we’d run him on good to soft, soft in places but we wouldn’t want it bottomless or too heavy.”

Ayr’s three-day meeting gets under way this afternoon and Well Painted looks a stand-out contender vying for top honours. William Haggas sends the four-year-old from Newmarket as he seeks to supplement his debut win in a Newbury maiden event last May.

Well Painted has not got his head in front in seven subsequent starts, although he has been tried in some competitive company during that time.

Rated 94 at one stage last season, Well Painted has been on the slide since and sits on a mark of 86 after placing fourth on the Kempton all-weather on his most recent outing. He was not totally disgraced on that occasion, being beaten just under three lengths after getting going far too late on his first try back at a mile since June 2012.

That was his first outing in 99 days so Well Painted should strip fitter for the outing and may now be on a more suitable mark for the William Hill – Download The App Handicap.

Dream Walker should appreciate the softer ground in the Hillhouse Quarry Group Supporting Ayrshire Hospice Handicap after finding it a bit quick at Chester.

Brian Ellison’s charge made the most of give in the ground by winning at Carlisle, Ayr and Newcastle in late July and early August, but good ground on the Roodee saw his bid for a four-timer come unstuck.

He was hardly beaten far on that occasion but, as all of his wins have come on at least good to soft ground, it is fair to ­assume he is a bit better with some give.