Some top jockeys are in attendance for the meeting at Ayr on Monday and it’s good to see Gold Cup winner Nico de Boinville booked for three rides.
Nico, who landed the Cheltenham showpiece in 2015 on Coneygree, has ridden two winners from his previous 20 mounts at the Craigie course.
The main reason for his visit is for his boss Nicky Henderson on chasing debutant Dame De Compagnie, the winner of last season’s Coral Cup on her most recent start.
And, though she faces only one rival in the novices’ chase, that sole opponent happens to be Cornerstone Lad, a horse with a superior timber rating of 159 and the winner of the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in 2019.
There is also a decent card scheduled for Musselburgh on Friday which is the last meeting before the prestigious bet365 Scottish Cheltenham Trials weekend on February 6th & 7th.
The opening race is the Betway Cosmic Case Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, named after a mare that won five times on the Flat and twice over jumps at Musselburgh.
She was trained by Jim Goldie and her career spanned between 1997 to 2005 when she appeared 147 times – she was actually ridden to victory on three occasions by Keith Dalgleish, now a successful trainer!
It was sad to hear of the recent death of Khalid Abdullah, a leading owner and breeder on the global racing scene for over four decades.
He was, of course the man in whose colours superstars such as Frankel and Enable ran, but he he also enjoyed plenty of success with other less-heralded horses.
One of his last winners in Scotland was Collide, a son of the mighty Frankel, who stormed to a nine-length victory at Hamilton Park in 2018 for Edinburgh-born Hugo Palmer.
For the record Abdullah had four winners from ten runners at the Lanarkshire track while his strike-rate at Ayr was 9/59 and 2/6 at Musselburgh.
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