It is looking increasingly likely that Irish trainer David Nagle will let last weekend’s Curragh winner Maarek take his chance under the crushing burden of ten stone in Saturday’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
After originally suggesting it would be asking a lot of the Group 3 Newbridge 200 Renaissance Stakes winner to turn out again just six days later under a huge weight in one of the most competitive sprint handicaps on the international racing calendar, Nagle has admitted to being very tempted after seeing his Pivotal gelding recover quickly from his exertions where he saw off the rejuvenated former July Cup winner Starspangledbanner by a half a length.
Maarek originally had 9st 9lbs in the weights for the Scottish feature, but a 5lb penalty for his win takes him up to 10 stones. Nagle is keen to find a good apprentice able to remove the 5lb from the back of his seven-time winner, a horse who was originally trained in England under the guidance of John Gosden, (for whom he never raced), before crossing the Irish Sea to make a belated start to his career at the end of his three-year-old season.
A horse with a pronounced liking for easy ground, Maarek ran fourth to Cheveton in last year’s Ayr Silver Cup off a mark of 89 but has improved out of all recognitions over the last 12 months, landing a hot Newmarket handicap in May before finishing a close sixth of the 24 runners behind Dandy Boy, a favourite of the Betfair racing community, in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot. He subsequently won the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle before finishing third to Soul in similar company at Newbury, prior to his fine effort on Sunday that confirmed Nagle’s gelding in the form of his life.
Bookmakers go a general 16/1 about the five-year-old landed a massive big-race double within a week.
Get more info on horse racing events and the latest insight ahead of the big races with Betfair.