The Ayr Gold Cup is a 6f handicap race open to horses aged three or older and is staged at Ayr Racecourse.
The maximum permitted field of 27 is put together from the highest-rated horses entered. Any horses that do not make the race are given the option to run in the consolation races – the Ayr Silver and Bronze Cups.
Since 1980 there have been just two winning favourites of Scotland’s richest handicap race which will make depressing reading for favourite backers.
25 runners go to post this Saturday for this feature race that goes off at 3.50pm (GMT).
Here is your full 888sport runner-by-runner guide...
Perfect Pasture ran out a ready winner of the Cammidge Trophy, the first race of the new Flat season at Doncaster at the start of the season.
He has won thirteen career races and goes on the all weather and turf to equal effect. A 48-day break should have sharpened him up after a disappointing run at Chester.
George Bowen has been running consistently well this season and he was the impressive winner of the Scottish Steward’s Cup at Hamilton.
He has been contesting all the major handicaps this year and has been on the premises in most of them.
Winner of the Sprint Finale at Windsor in July and ran just last weekend at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend.
He finished fourth in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon which was also promising run.
The four-year-old was just touched off by Gifted Master at Goodwood in the Stewards’ Cup and will be pleased to be back in this company after running behind Limato last time at York.
Also ran behind Limato the other day at York and is somewhat of a sprint specialist. He won a Listed race this season and off a mark of 105 looks well in here.
The winner of this year’s Great St Wilfrid after bagging the rail and never looking back under his jockey Joe Fanning.
However, there must be concerns about the ground for him on Saturday afternoon.
If there were prizes handed out for consistency this season then Kevin Ryan’s four-year-old would be at the front of queue.
It would come as no surprise to see him top and tail his season with another win here given Ryan’s run of form at the moment.
SON OF REST
Son Of Rest is bidding to become the first Irish-trained winner of the Ayr Gold Cup and will also have to overcome the current hoodoo on favourites in this contest.
Beaten just half a length by Havana Grey in the Group One Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last Sunday, some punters believe that he is thrown in here.
Former Group One sprinter G Force is the second of two Irish raiders taking their place in the field. The seven-year-old should have no issues with the ground and could be a lively outsider.
A consistent horse this term with decent form lines that tie in with Gifted Master. He won at Goodwood last time out and his jockey takes off a valuable 5lbs.
Soft-ground specialist Muntadab has proved popular with punters all week given conditions that have been forecast.
Whether the rain reignites a relatively poor season for the six-year-old remains to be seen.
Flying Pursuit loves a bit of juice in the ground and loves the track. Winner of the Sky Bet Dash at York in July, he is among the market leaders for the £200,000 sprint handicap.
The five-year-old arrives on the back of finishing sixth in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid.
Won on his return at Chelmsford off a mark of 78 back in April and has not looked back. 6f on soft ground should hold no fears for the four-year-old and he could easily go unnoticed in the betting at a big price.
A very decent performer back in the day ran a belter in a Group 3 in Italy back in May. Has performed well in soft conditions before and should give his Middleham Park owners a decent afternoon out.
Richard Fahey believes Growl needs slower ground than he has been encountering this season and his last three runs at York, Goodwood and Ripon have been monsters given the circumstances.
He beat everyone but Brando in this race in 2016 and the rain should again play its part in his proximity to the front.
The four-year-old has been putting in solid performances all this year but ran rather flat at Doncaster last weekend in the Portland Handicap.
The suspicion is that the season has finally caught up with him.
Just two three-year-olds have landed this prize since the turn of the millennium but the horse does boast some very strong form this season.
The going should not be an issue and the youngster should run well for the Tim Easterby stable.
He was reasonably fancied for this race in 2016 but finished stone last. Has shown very little this season but the going does offer him a glimmer of hope as he does go on it.
Scored an excellent win at Epsom on Derby Day when coming wide, late and fast under Silvestre De Sousa. He backed that up with another good win, that time under top weight at Newmarket in June.
He looks more of a good ground horse if anything so the forecast is worrying.
Set off in fine style this season registering two wins on the All-Weather but his form has gone backwards since. Not an obvious candidate.
Owned by Mrs Angie Bailey who won this race in 2016 with Brando.
Tommy Taylor has run some decent races this season but without winning and has won on the soft before. Gets into this on a nice mark and could outrun his odds.
A two-time winner at Ayr and has won at the track in these conditions. Ran poorly in a competitive handicap at York last time but is not one to write off just yet.
BRIAN THE SNAIL
A Godolphin owned horse that is proving very frustrating to follow. Won a decent 6f race at Doncaster in June but has finished nearer last than first in all his other races this season.
Won four races on the bounce over the summer but appears to be crying out for his winter break if his last two performances are anything to go by.
Ran a decent second to Ice Age in the Windsor Sprint Finale Handicap but has struggled ever since.
A difficult race to unpick but the going is sure to have a major part to play in proceedings.
The Ontoawinner syndicates appear to be holding a strong hand in this field and it may pay to follow their trio of runners as they all have proven form on the soft.
888sport suggests: Flying Pursuit, G Force and Staxton (all e/w).
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*