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Friday 12 June 2015

Scottish Sprint Cup Outsiders

Regular readers will remember that we previewed the Scottish Sprint Cup last year and, while Dinkum Diamond (20/1) could do no better than third for this column, the raft of fancy priced winners in the last 10 years remains a cause for optimism.

The one that immediately springs from the page is the 2013 winner, Kingsgate Choice (25/1). Connections may have been a little carried away by that success, subsequently running the Choisir gelding in a succession of Listed and Pattern races, including the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, but he’s not badly handicapped as a result and has the best of the draw in stall one. He could finish only thirteenth of twenty, beaten 6 lengths, behind Monsieur Joe on his reappearance at York two weeks ago, but is entitled to improve for that run, his first since August. Indeed, Monsieur Joe wasn’t beaten far under a penalty at Epsom last week, so the form looks worth following.

Perfect Pastures (25/1) could make no impression, from a high draw, in the same York contest, eventually finishing nineteenth, 11 lengths behind the winner, but is only 2lb higher in the weights than when winning at Southwell in January. His turf form has yet to measure up to his all-weather form, but it would take a brave man to suggest that it won’t, eventually, and he could potentially fare much better this time from his single-figure stall.

Masamah (16/1) may have lost some of the lightning speed that was his trademark is his heyday, but Marco Botti’s now 9-year-old did well to finish second in this race last year and, notwithstanding Tom Marquand’s 7lb claim, is 14lb better off with last year’s winner, Demora. The Exceed And Excel gelding was in fair form on the all-weather earlier this year and could improve a little for his return to turf at Chester last month. He’s on a losing run of twenty, but is consequently 1lb lower in the weights than when winning at Ascot two seasons ago, so a decent run would be no real surprise.

Obviously, we need to take a few things on trust, but our three against the field this week are, in order of preference, Kingsgate Choice (25/1 with Totesport, Betfred and Stan James), Perfect Pastures (25/1 with the same three bookmakers, plus Bet Victor and Betfair Sportsbook) and Masamah (16/1 generally available). Good luck!