Zidane on sidelines for Ayr Gold Cup

ONE hundred and thirty two horses are still chasing the 28 places up for grabs in Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup, but unfortunately for his supporters, Zidane isn't one of them.

Last month's Goodwood Stewards' Cup winner had been as short as 9-1 third favourite for Scotland's big sprint but trainer James Fanshawe confirmed before yesterday's five-day declaration stage the gelding would be aimed at Ascot's Diadem Stakes instead.

Among those who have stood their ground is Borderlescott, beaten a short head by Zidane in Sussex, while Dandy Nicholls, who missed out on the chance of landing another Gold Cup 12 months ago when an administrative error robbed him of even an entry, has made sure there's to be no repeat of that fiasco. The Thirsk handler is responsible for 19 this time round. There's also a handful from Ireland, while there's plenty of tartan representation as well with runners from the yards of Ian Semple, Jim Goldie, Donal Nolan, Alistair Whillans and Linda Perratt.

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Sadly, one of the latter's entries we won't be seeing in action again is the highly popular Ptarmigan Ridge who broke a leg on the gallops at the weekend.

Owned and bred by the Honourable Heather Galbraith, the eleven-year-old won eight of his 89 starts, three of them at his home course of Ayr, in addition to finishing third to Halmahera in Doncaster's Portland Handicap, an impressive record that helped him amass prize money of over 117,000.

There's more to the three-day meeting at the Craigie track of course than just the big race with the Doonside Cup attracting a high-class entry and for the first time, the winner of Friday's Harry Roseberry Stakes is set to collect a silver cup presented to the course by South Ayrshire Council to commemorate 100 years of racing at the track.

At Musselburgh yesterday, Seb Sanders drew a blank in his battle to land the jockeys' championship but the long journey home might have been made slightly easier by the knowledge that main rival Jamie Spencer didn't manage to get on the scoresheet at Leicester either.

There were no such problems at the East Lothian venue for PJ McDonald, Paul Hanagan, or Royston Ffrench who all notched up doubles although the last named was denied an even better afternoon when he and Falcon's Fire had to settle for second behind the Graham Gibbons-ridden Elopement in the finale. The highlight of McDonald's duo was the victory of Kirkby's Treasure in the first, Alan Swinbank's grey once again demonstrating just how much he loves Musselburgh by threading his way through the field late on to get up on the line and nab his sixth course success.

As for today, given the way the nap has been running, you probably don't want to know what the best bet is but rules are rules so you're going to be told anyway.

Frankie Dettori has already ended one long losing run this season with his victory in the Derby aboard Authorized.

That, though, was a dawdle in comparison to trying to stop the rot The Scotsman's supposed bankers currently find themselves immersed in. Dettori teams up with Canadian Danehill at Yarmouth and on form, he and his partner should prove hard to beat.