Julie Camacho’s Significantly will bid bounce back from a narrow Doncaster defeat last week as he heads further north for the Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup Handicap.
The five-year-old was a 12-1 shot for the five-and-a-half-furlong Portland Handicap at the St Leger meeting and very nearly made light of those odds when just missing out on first place by a short head.
Connections report he is ready to go again and he will return to six furlongs for the valuable Gold Cup, a big field handicap worth over £90,000 to the winner.
“When you come as close as Significantly did last week, you always have the disappointment that the result didn’t go your way but pride in the performance,” said Steve Brown, Camacho’s husband and assistant.
“We’ve seen no reason at home not to run him again and going back up to six furlongs should suit.”
Karl Burke has a pair of runners in Fast Response and Lethal Levi, with the first-named contender likely to relish the conditions as autumn rain has left the ground on the easy side.
The trainer said: “Fast Response loves soft ground, she’s a Listed winner and a good quality filly. She should run very well.”
Of Lethal Levi, who was fourth at Doncaster last week, Burke added: “Lethal Levi probably wouldn’t want too much more rain and wears a visor for the first time.
“He hasn’t really gone on as I hoped he would this year, but he’s a fair horse and ran pretty well at Doncaster last week, so we’re hoping for another big run.”
Kevin Ryan has a superb record with six past successes in the race and will saddle a trio of contenders in Aleezdancer, Bielsa and Magical Spirit.
Bielsa won the contest in 2021 and Magical Spirit is well proven over course and distance after winning the Ayr Silver Cup in 2020 and finishing fourth in the same race the following year.
The chestnut is owned by Hambleton Racing, whose director of racing Simon Turner said: “He’s in great form at home, he worked well earlier in the week and the ground should be ideal for him, so we’re hoping for a big run.”
Magical Spirit has a wide draw in stall 18, something Turner is fairly neutral about as handicaps with large fields can gravitate to either rail or into several groups.
“I have an open mind on the draw until we see how some of the big-field races pan out before then,” he added.
“We’ve had instances in the past where we thought we were on the wrong side at Royal Ascot but we stuck to our guns and had the winner.
“You convince yourself that one place is the place to be, but we’ll go in a straight line from where we are and hope we’re on a fair part of the track.
“He’s been in great form through the year, he’s run some smashing races and he’s run twice in the Silver Cup at Ayr and won it and finished fourth.
“He’s got solid form over course and distance in this type of race and he’s been targeted at this for some time. He’ll be one of the outsiders but we know he’s well capable of winning a big race.”
Charlie Hills’ Orazio is among the leading fancies, with David O’Meara’s Summerghand the returning champion after a one-length victory last season.
The line up also features other O’Meara-trained sprint handicap regulars such as Aberama Gold and Escobar, with further familiar names including David Evans’ Rohaan and John Quinn’s Mr Waygu.