Ray Guest upbeat over Mirza's Gold Cup chances at Ayr on Saturday despite a lengthy lay-off from the track.
Last Updated: 19/09/12 3:59pm
Rae Guest is confident Mirza will show up well in Saturday's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup despite a three-month lay-off from the track.
The Oasis Dream gelding has been off the track since running eighth of nine to Soul at Newbury on July 14.
Prior to that, the five-year-old had caught the eye with victories at Cork and Newmarket and Guest believes the lay-off will have him spot on for the six-furlong showpiece.
Guest had entered Mirza in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury but believes he will be favoured by conditions north of the border.
"The Newbury entry was only precautionary in case something went wrong along the line," said the handler.
"He's in great form and he runs well fresh. We're happy with that and the ground should be just right for him.
"Darryll Holland rides him. He's a jockey in great form and he's won it twice before. He wants to do it three times.
"We've got to choose a draw on Thursday but it's always difficult before racing starts to know if you're going to be on the right side or whatever."
Mirza is a general 25/1 chance in the ante-post lists which are headed by Jim Goldie's Hawkeyethenoo at 12s with Waffle, from the David Barron yard, next in at 16s.
And Barron, who also has Colonel Mak in the race, may have to settle for a Silver Cup berth for another of his stable stars.
"Colonel Mak and Waffle are both definites for the Gold Cup. They are both happy on easy ground," he told Racing UK.
"Pearl Ice needs three to come out and if he misses the big one, he'll go for the Silver Cup. I'm almost certain he'll be fine on the ground.
"My biggest problem with him is I thought he was a big, soft brute. I gelded him and he's quite a lot lighter than he was when he was a colt, maybe to the point I would like a little bit more on him.
"He works like quite a nice horse, but this particular time, whether he would just have the bottle to win a race like that, I'd be wary.
"Elusive Prince will go for the Silver Cup, but wouldn't want it too soft sadly. It's a bit unlikely to suit him."