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Ayr – Preview 11th December 2023

Gordon Brown – Race Reporter

Gordon has a wealth of experience of racing through his background in the written and broadcast media. His current principle role is reporting and supporting the scene in Scotland on Racing TV and relaying the latest news with Scottish angles.

DUNNET HEAD bids to follow up last month’s handicap debut strike at Carlisle as Ayr stages its final action of 2024 on Monday.

Trained by Iain Jardine and owned by Ray Green, the promising five-year-old lines up in the £15,000 Coral Racing Bet Bundles Handicap Hurdle over 2m 4f.

“He’s still learning but we were very pleased with him at Carlisle and this longer trip should be perfect for him,” Jardine said. “I suppose 4lbs is a fair rise for that win and he is a lovely big horse with, we hope, a bright future.”

Rivals to Dunnet Head include Guernesey, who produced an encouraging first run for Jackie Stephen at Kelso recently. Formerly with Joe Tizzard, he was only pipped by three-parts of a length in 3m 2f contest at the borders venue.

In the other £15,000 event, the Coral Racing Club Handicap Chase, connections of Ned Tanner will be hoping he goes one better after his close second at Kelso a month ago.

Nick Alexander’s Kinneston raider came from off the pace to chase home Red Happy and should be suited by this step back up to three miles.

In the opening Coral Get Closer To The Action Junior “National Hunt” Hurdle, Ben Brookhouse-trained Summer Night City appears to one to beat after his win in similar company at Hereford where he was persistently hampered by a loose horse.

“He won the race last year but he is 8lbshigher this time and is giving weight away all round,” Alexander said. “He does have the benefit of a run on the Flat at York three weeks ago and he loves Ayr, he’s been there four times and has won twice and been second and third on the other occasions.”

Opposition to to Wakool includes Aramax, the 2020 Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle hero, and Nicky Richards’ pair Ginger Flame and Caius Marcius.

Ginger Mail, another top-weight for Alexander, is also trying to win the Burton Roofing Merchants Handicap Hurdle for the second year running.

“He is 4lbs higher this time and also has a big weight but I couldn’t be happier with his preparation so he ought to run well,” Alexander said.

Stuart Coltherd is another trainer double-handed, in his case in the Bet With Rails Bookmakers On Course Handicap Chase with Grand Voyage and Hidden Commander.

Sean Bowen, currently 34 winners clear at the top of the jockeys’ championship table, has seven booked rides starting off with Indeevar Bleu in the Argyll Bar Paisley EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.