3.00 Ayr: Class 5 Handicap, 1 Mile
Despite a big field this race is a rather uncompetitive one with only few appearing to be anywhere near what you’d describe as well-handicapped. There is no doubt, that when on a going day, Vive La Difference is surely one who is well-handicapped, though.
The 5-year-old gelding has been struggling to find his best for a while, certainly starting slowly on pretty much every occasion doesn’t help. At the same time a few performances have been promising this year, when not far beaten in competitive races at Wetherby or Ripon earlier this season.
Vive La Difference has fallen quite a bit in his handicap mark, now 10lb lower than he started the season. He ran twice in his career to topspeed ratings of higher than 70, and a number of times around his current handicap mark of 68, including this year.
That gives hope that today of a near career lowest mark he can run a big race with conditions sure to suit, particularly if first time blinkers can help sharpen him up at the beginning of the race.
10pts win – Vive La Difference @ 11.5/1 MB
3.10 Pontefract: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 2f
I was keen on Aiya the last time at Thirsk. Things didn’t pan out as hoped, but the gelding conveniently dropped another 3lb in the mark and also to a more suitable 1m 2f trip, I believe.
Most what I talked about in my analysis leading up to the Thirsk race still holds true today:
The 4-year-old was a little bit unlucky not get his head in front on grass yet, because he got close at Redcar when beaten by a neck back in May. He ran to topspeed 80 in that mentioned Redcar race and clocked 77 on the All-Weather in the past.
With conditions likely to suit – fast ground and 10f delivered his career best of an 80 ORR and a TS 80 – and a decent draw, there is no reason why Aiya shouldn’t run a massive race today.
10pts win – Aiya @ 10/1 MB