Ayr and Leicester previews: Compensation awaits for Erik


David Metcalf | May 23, 2016

Erik The Red can cash-in on class drop at Ayr

Erik The Red looked an unlucky loser last time out and can take advantage of a drop in class to gain compensation in the 1m handicap on today’s card at Ayr (16.45).

The Kevin Ryan trained gelding rounded off 2015 by landing a hat-trick and has looked better than ever in two starts this season.

After going down by just a neck to You’re Fired in a competitive class 2 contest at Haydock when not getting the clearest of runs, the four-year-old posted a cracking effort in a similar grade affair at York when third of 13 to Nayal.

Erik The Red travelled powerfully throughout in the latter, but jockey Shane Gray didn’t take advantage of a gap two from home and had to sit and suffer when it closed.

By the time he found some daylight the leaders had stolen first march, and it was to Erik The Red’s credit that he stayed on powerfully to be gaining all the way to the line to be beaten just a length.

There is little doubt in my mind that the son of Kendaragent would have won granted a clear passage, and although now 2lb higher in the weights the form reads extremely well in the context of this lower grade class 3 contest.

We’ll Shake Hands weighted to strike

Trainer Karl Burke does well with his runners at the track and We’ll Shake Hands looks weighted to provide him with another winner In the 1m 2f handicap (16.15).

The Spigot Lodge handler has a 20 per cent strike rate at the venue in the past 12 months, and in We’ll Shake Hands has a gelding that has been given a real chance by the assessor.

The five-year-old landed handicaps at Haydock and Newcastle last year, with the last of those successes coming off a mark of 70 in a class 5 affair.

We’ll Shake Hands was then far from disgraced on his final start of the campaign when fourth in a class 4 contest at Nottingham off 75, but has failed to sparkle in two starts this season in two similar grade affairs.

However, he is back down to his last winning mark as a result and now drops down into class 5 company.

That gives the five-year-old every chance form a handicapping perspective, and We’ll Shake Hands has needed two runs to put him straight and come good third time of asking for the last two seasons.

Ayr selections

14.00: Navajo War Dance
14.30: Little Belter
15.05: Bop It
15.40: Millefiori
16.15: We’ll Shake Hands (NB)
16.45: Erik The Red (NAP)
17.15: Joyful Star

Gershwin can call the tune at Leicester

Gershwin shaped with plenty of promise on seasonal reappearance and looks decent value to land the 1m 2f handicap on today’s card at Leicester (15.55).

The David Lanigan trained colt came good at the third time of asking when staying on well to cosily land a 1m maiden at Haydock by 1/2 a length back in October, and the second, third and fifth have all come out and won since to give the form a strong look.

Judged on the manner of that success Gershwin looked the type who would do well in handicaps as a three-year-old, and that view was confirmed when he finished an eye-catching sixth of 12 to Stargazer on return to action in a class 3 contest at Sandown last month.

After being held-up in mid division, the son of Shamardal kept on nicely under tender handling to be nearest at the finish and beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

Gershwin looks sure to come on a bundle for that outing, and now drops down into class 4 company.

His stable also traditionally hit form at this time of the season, and Gershwin is now reunited with jockey George Baker who has a 100 per cent record on him.

Thetis tough to beat

In the feature 7f conditions’ stakes (16.30), Thetis looks a worthy red-hot favourite to get back to winning ways now eased in grade.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained filly showed progressive form in three runs as a juvenile and looks the type to do even better as a three-year-old.

After shaping with bags of promise when third on debut at Newmarket, the daughter of Invincible Spirit opened her account on good style when staying on strongly to score comfortably by two lengths in a 7f maiden at Carlisle.

Connections decided to pitch Thetis into Group 2 company on the back of that victory, and she ran a blinder when chasing home Promising Run over 7f in the Rockfel at Newmarket.

After racing keenly in the earlier stages, Thetis made good headway to challenge a furlong from home and stuck to the task well to go down by 1 3/4 lengths.

The winner is a useful sort who finished an excellent third to So Mi Dar in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes when last seen in action, and the form reads well in the contest of this lower grade contest.

Thetis also looks sure to come on for a recent run at York when third in a Listed contest, and this is far easier and represents a golden opportunity for her to get back on the scoresheet.

Leicester selections

14.15: Global Revival
14.45: Top Hatter
15.20: Alhella
15.55: Gershwin (NAP)
16.30: Thetis (NB)
17.00: The Salmon Man
17.30: Divisionist
18.00: Man Of Music


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