‘MAX’ STAKES BET AT AYR TODAY: The Ayr Gold Cup meeting opens on soft ground and punters will be looking for draw bias and stables in form. But, according to Daqman, one trainer says: go for the ‘Max’ today.

2.20 Ayr: The opening 5f sprint handicap could provide a clue to the draw effect in the bronze (tomorrow), silver and gold cups (both Saturday).

In the last five seasons, the one-two by stall in this has been 18-19, 6-7, 3-4, 9-7 and 25-19; in fact, a three-two win for the stands’ side since, in one year, the low numbers came across.

Tadalavil (stall 16) is the only course winner on soft ground, though there was cut when Blown It (12) and Saxonette (7) won, and the conditions will notably suit Black Annis Bower (10) and Sonny Red (2).

Apart from Ridley Didley in 15 – but he has led early only on a sound surface – those expected to go to the front are all in the low numbers: Tongalooma (in stall 1), Chosen One (in 6, and third last year), Cool In The Shade (8) and Haadeeth (9).

Haadeeth is a big price at 9.2. He’s one of the best in the yard at home and might now reproduce something of that on the track, with the blinds revving him up, dropped back to the minimum on his favoured ground.

3.20 and 3.50 Ayr: The Isle Of Skye is a dream home from the rat race and the matrix, but it rains most of the year; when it doesn’t, a mist obscures the scenery.

Scotch mist (that comes in a bottle) helps if you moved your home and mortgage there, and it might help in solving the puzzle of the two divisions of this tricky handicap.

Magic Cat (3.20) is so favoured by soft ground that top weight may not stop him and 9.0 on Betdaq this morning gives you a fair chance.

I made a note last night to back the 3.50 favourite, Take It To The Max, only if the ground dries out, then along comes trainer Richard Fahey with the quote: ‘sure to improve for the softer surface.’ Just shows that it’s not all in the form book.

Since the second horse in the market, Ted’s Brother, is unproven beyond 7f, and the next one fancied by the punters, Come Here Yew, is a maiden, ‘Max’ is beginning to look something to bet on.

4.20 Ayr (Kilkerran Cup): That old grouse David Elsworth is rarely seen in these parts but he’s having a great season and he clearly has this in his sights with Seattle Drive (7.6 on Betdaq, as I write), unexposed at the trip and staying on over a mile last time out.

Another three-year-old, Las Verglas Star (4.6), is the obvious danger, a consistent sort, not disgraced behind the smart Labarinto at Goodwood.

It’s a tip in itself that Labarinto is to miss the Cambridgeshire, giving full attention to Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Handicap, in which John Gosden can choose between Dhaamer, who has to try to repeat his Haydock win in first-time visor, and Taqleed, also a Haydock winner, and massively better off now with Newmarket conqueror, Club Oceanic.

BET 2.4pts win and place HAADEETH (2.20 Ayr)
BET 2.5pts win and place MAGIC CAT (3.20 Ayr)
BET 5.5pts win (nap) TAKE IT TO THE MAX (3.50 Ayr)
BET 5.5pts win LAS VERGLAS STAR and 3pts win SEATTLE DRIVE (4.20 Ayr)
BET 2.4pts win and place INQUISITRESS (5.40 Kempton)