15:05 Ayr This mammoth field is going to take some figuring out but plenty have claims and this could be a good pointer to Saturdays main event, the Ayr Gold Cup. The likelihood of cut in the ground is another issue but Mass Rally wont mind and as a previous winner of the Silver Cup, he is entitled to a huge amount of respect despite being out of form. Trained by Michael Dods, he has run numerous times in top class handicaps and though he has been very disappointing this term, a return to this trip on this softer ground is a big positive and as he trades as an outsider, the value is there to have a stab and so he is taken to run into a place. Dods also trains likely favourite Dragon King who hacked up at Newmarket the last time, officially well in under his penalty he is sure to be popular with the punters and though he probably has to improve again, he is progressive and could. If there are negatives for the jolly then the easiest starting point is that he does like to lead, the ground is another interesting question against him and though we have taken him on, he could well be up to it and deserves respect. David O’Meara is something of an expert at landing these huge field handicaps and saddles three in this, it would be no surprise if Signor Piccolo or Rural Celebration were to pop up but his preferred runner is Flyman who has likely been aimed at this and has the headgear back on today and will relish conditions. New Bidder, Grissom and Supplicant are others to respect and though Fast Shot has seemingly lost his way, he too deserves respect. Jim Goldie challengers always want a second glance at this meeting too and Tiger Jim is a Course and Distance winner but the biggest danger may be Bertiewhittle. Now a seven he is an old rogue and rarely wins, he showed himself in a better light two starts back when second at Doncaster though and this race will play to his strengths. The rest are as easy to fancy as the likelier sorts on paper but a chance will be taken on Mass Rally causing a minor upset. Mass Rally (E/W)

15:10 Listowel A few of these ran in the Irish Cambridgeshire with mixed results, Canary Row however ran a belter and was staying on nicely at the finish. This ground will be no problem to him and his liking for the venue is another positive, he can gain compensation today with a few unproven on the ground and with traffic likely to be easier to navigate through. Cairdiuil is handed the main danger tag as he has some decent form around here on soft ground, he has a nice weight too so a bold showing looks on the cards despite his double figure price. Champagne Or Water ran a tremendous race in that aforementioned Cambridgeshire and was only nailed late on, this drop in trip is likely to suit her but she has had a few hard races now and is taken on as such. Mandamus takes a big drop in class and has to be respected, his latest effort behind Kelinni was a good one considering he was returning from a break and he’ll have no problem with the ground. Canary Row (WIN)

16:25 Newbury Ascription went into my notebook two seasons back after sauntering home in a seven furlong soft ground race at Doncaster, he missed the entirety of the next season however and looked unlikely to be as effective when making his return to the track. Hugo Palmer has done a tremendous job with him however and despite the obvious fears, the horse has proven himself to be as good as ever with a few cracking efforts at a higher level. Todays rain softened ground is a major positive and though he hasn’t won since returning from that injury, he has nothing to improve on to beat these and is taken to make his class tell. Dark Emerald has been most unlucky to bump into Kodi Bear and Richard Pankhurst on his last two starts and had to give weight too, personally I was disappointed he couldn’t make fitness tell the last day however and though from a form perspective he has every chance, he does look exposed enough to take on. Hathal is only three and could improve, he is worth considering each way but none have shown what Ascription has and a defeat for the favourite would be a majorly disappointing. Ascription (WIN)

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