Ayr Racing Tips: Ayiko ready to strike for raiding Crawford

 | March 07 | 

4 mins read

Ayr Racecourse

Lots of racing action in store on Friday March 8th as we enter the final few days before the Cheltenham Festival.

There are five meetings across the UK and Ireland, with our focus on the card at Ayr, where they go over jumps from 14:00-16:30 on ground forecast to be soft, good to soft in places. Our fancies include one for trainer Stuart Crawford on one of his regular trips across to Scotland from his base in Larne, Northern Ireland.

Ayr betting tips Friday

  • Ayr 14:00 – Ayiko @ 13/8
  • Ayr 15:30 – Leading Force @ 9/2
  • Ayr 16:30 - El Elefante @ 4/5

Ayr 14:00 – Ayiko @ 13/8

The standard is set for the opening Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Maiden Hurdle by Hazy Glen, who finished second at Newcastle in December. That was his second successive runner-up finish over hurdles and the third and fourth home at Gosforth Park, Pinot Rouge and From The Clouds, as well as sixth in Whosmydaddy, all won their next starts.

Stamina was to the fore in those form boosts, however, with two of them coming at trips close to three-miles. Hazy Glen isn't an obvious candidate for this drop in trip and his best form has been on heavy ground.

Irish raider AYIKO represents the shrewd Stuart Crawford yard in the double-green silks of Isaac Souede and Simon Munir. He won a course bumper in December but had too much on his plate when going into a hot Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He should improve for the switch to hurdling and Daryl Jacob is back in the plate now. The trainer has a 26 per-cent strike-rate at Ayr so far in 2024 and can bag his fifth winner of the calendar year at this Scottish course.

Ayiko 14.00 Ayr

Ayr 15:30 – Leading Force @ 9/2

Consistency was the name of the game for LEADING FORCE over hurdles, with five placed efforts from seven starts over timber, and he was a little unlucky not to poke his head in front at Hexham (2m 4f, heavy) in March of last year.

He returned from 258 days off with a fair third at Musselburgh over that same trip in January and made a good fist of things on his chasing debut at Sedgefield (2m 1f, soft) when runner-up behind Duo D'Enfer - a previous course and distance winner for Micky Hammond - in this grade.

The extra distance offered now should be a positive for Leading Force and Sandy Thomson appears to have found a good opening for him as this isn't strong for the grade. Ryan Mania is riding well and a breakthrough success for this seven-year-old looks imminent.

Leading Force 15.30 Ayr

Ayr 16:30 - El Elefante @ 4/5

Bringing down the curtain on the action at Ayr will be the weatherbysshop.co.uk EBF Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle and it looks a solid opening for the class-dropping EL ELEFANTE to resume winning ways for the Lucinda Russell team.

Placed in her sole Irish point, the mare won bumpers and Musselburgh and Perth last spring after joining this stable, making all in both instances. She returned in September for a wide-margin Perth success (2m 4f, soft) on her jumping bow, doing things very easily again from the front.

She ran into classier opposition next time in a novice at Cheltenham’s November meeting but was far from disgraced when beaten less than six-lengths into fifth.

A Listed novice fourth against her own sex followed at Haydock (2m 3f, heavy) just before Christmas and she was outclassed down in trip in a Doncaster Grade 2 in January won by leading Supreme Novices' Hurdle contender Jeriko Du Reponet from the Nicky Henderson yard, with the placed horses finishing first and second next time in the Grade 2 Dovecote at Kempton.

El Elefante goes back up in trip and markedly down in grade now, which should bring a return to winning ways. The Russell team are in cracking recent form (7-29) and can enhance a 23 per-cent Ayr strike-rate so far this year by landing the finale.

El Elefante 16.30 Ayr

Horse racing tips from Betfred Insights.

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