Horsebetting.com experts give their three best bets for the final day of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival on Saturday, 22 September. The Andrew Balding trained Firelight rates the NAP on the eight-race card in the Group 3 6f Firth Of Clyde Stakes. Fire Brigade now finally gets the testing conditions he relishes, so is our NB in the 1m handicap. Meanwhile, in the ultra-competitive Ayr Silver Cup over 6f, Holmeswood makes plenty of each-way appeal at the odds on offer. For full details on these horses, read our in-depth preview and Ayr betting tips for September 22.Firelight hot stuff in Firth Of Clyde StakesTrainer Andrew Balding has his team in terrific shape at present and Firelight looks to hold outstanding claims of providing him with another winner in the feature 6f juvenile fillies’ contest at Ayr on Saturday, the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes (15:15). This daughter of Oasis Dream has won two of her five starts and posted some really solid efforts in defeat.
They include a fine close-up fourth to Fairyland in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York on her penultimate outing where, after being held-up, Firelight was switched left to make a challenge a furlong from home and stayed on nicely to be beaten just two lengths. It was a promising effort which suggested there was better to come and, although not so good last time out when fourth in a Group 3 at Salisbury that race wasn’t run to suit.
Prior to those two efforts, Firelight showed a really likeable attitude to land back-to back contests at Kempton and Newmarket, finding plenty for pressure to prevail narrowly on both occasions. The last of those victories also came on soft ground, and that is a big plus as the majority of her rivals in this are unproven on a testing surface.
One of them is Queen Of Bermuda, the highest rated in the line up off 102. Firelight is rated just 2lb lower than William Haggas’ filly, so has little to find with that rival. So, in a race which is likely to turn into a slog, and where handling underfoot conditions is going to be key, Firelight ticks all the right boxes. Thus she rates the standout punt among the Ayr betting tips for September 22.Mud-loving Fire Brigade weighted to strike In the 1m handicap earlier on the card (14:00), Fire Brigade looks weighted to get back to winning ways now that he gets the soft ground conditions that he relishes. The Michael Bell trained four-year-old has a 36 per cent strike rate when the mud is flying having won four times and been placed on four occasions from 11 starts on it.
This son of Firebreak progressed through last season when winning four times, with his last success coming off a rating of 94 at Leicester in October. Prior to that, he ran a stormer when sent off a heavily-backed 7/2 joint-favourite and finishing a half-a-length third of 16 to the now 117-rated Addeybb in the Silver Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.
The runner-Up Afaak has gone on to finish a fine second in this year’s Royal Hunt Cup off 103, and Fire Brigade was receiving just 3lb and 2lb respectively from those rivals. That is very strong form and makes his current mark of 95 look workable.
It’s just 1lb higher than when last victorious and Fire Brigade comes into the race on the back of four solid efforts which suggest his time is near. The booking of Danny Tudhope to do the steering is also eye-catching. He is one from one on Fire Brigade having been aboard when he landed a six-runner contest on soft ground at Haydock in August 2017.
The fact that Bell is sending him on the long trip for Newmarket is also very interesting, as he has remarkably only ever saddled one runner at the Scottish venue in his career. So, now that he has his optimum conditions, Fire Brigade looks cracking value at the odds on offer and therefore rates out next best bet on the card.Holmeswood the each-way play in Silver CupIn the Ayr Silver Cup (14:40), Holmeswood makes plenty of each-way appeal in a typically ultra-competitive renewal of the 6f handicap. The Michael Dods trained gelding is a course winner who comes into the race on the back of some eye-catching efforts.
They include when a desperately unlucky third of 19 to El Astronaute at York two starts back where he dwelt at the start and was denied a clear run when making a move a furlong from home. His jockey was forced to snatch up and switch to get daylight, and when he did Holmeswood stayed on powerfully to be gaining all the way to the line and be beaten just 1 1/2 lengths off a mark of 91.
Given how the race panned out it was a terrific effort from the four-year-old and he has since run well to finish a four-length eighth of 21 to Momentofmadness in the Portland Handicap over an extended 5f at Doncaster when again doing all his best work at the finish from off the pace.
Holmeswood has since been dropped 1lb and is now able to race in this off a rating of 90. That is 1lb lower than when last successful in a 19-runner affair at York 13 months ago where he dead-heated with Intense Romance to land the hat-trick, so he is now clearly weighted to go in again at any time.
Given his come from behind tactics, the son of Mayson will need the cards to drop right in this 25-runner line up, but he is at his best when having a strong pace to aim at and is sure to get that here. So, at the odds on offer, and with many bookmakers offering enhanced placed terms, Holmeswood looks well worth an each-way wager.Your Next Bet