The Listed 1m 2f Doonside Cup takes centre stage on the opening day of the Ayr Gold Cup meeting this Thursday (15:30).
Iconic Choice has some strong form to her name and is well-treated by race conditions, so looks worth siding with at >em>5/1 with Ladbrokes to land the spoils
This Tom Dascombe trained three-year-old filly enjoyed a prolific campaign as a juvenile when winning six times.
She landed a competitive 11-runner handicap at this meeting last year in good style by 2 1/4 lengths, before rounding off the campaign with a taking 2 1/2 lengths success in a Listed contest at Newbury.
That win suggested there was better to come, and Iconic Choice ran a cracker on seasonal reappearance at Newbury when going down by just a short-head to Dandhu in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes.
The daughter of Sixties icon was then pitched into Group 1 company and ran a screamer in the first fillies’ Classic of the season, the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.
After racing in touch, Iconic Choice kept on well to finish a 2 3/4 lengths seventh of 15 to Hermosa and has some very smart types in behind.
She was then far from disgraced when beaten just over four lengths into seventh behind Main Edition in a Group 2 in Germany, before running below par when a well-beaten seventh of nine in a Group 3 at Chantilly.
Connections have since given Iconic Choice a break to freshen-up and she recieves a whopping 17lb from the top-rated Forest Ranger, who is only 7lb superior to her on official figures.
It makes Iconic Choice very much the one to beat now eased in grade and facing her easiest task for some time.
Forest Ranger feared despite big weight
Despite having to shoulder 9st 10lb and give weight all-round. the aforementioned Forest Ranger looks sure to give it his best shot.
This Richard Fahey trained five-year-old landed the Group 2 Huxley Stakes at Chester last year when running on strongly from the furlong marker to readily beat War Decree by 1 1/4 lengths.
The son of Lawman then failed to sparkle in his next three starts, before bouncing back and rounding off the campaign with a fine neck second to Euginio in a Group 3 at Newmarket.
Forest Ranger has looked as good as ever this season, finishing a fine 2 3/4 lengths second of 10 to Zabeel Prince in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes, before on his second start of the campaign before retaining his Huxley crown when beating Matterhorn by three-quarters of a length.
Although he has failed to fire in two starts following a break, he was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths last time out behind Zaaki in a Group 3 at York.
With those spins under his belt, Forest Ranger should now be spot on to do himself justice in this less taxing contest.
He also boasts a 33 per cent strike rate over the trip and goes extremely well for Tony Hamilton, who has partnered him to all five of his career successes and is once again in the saddle.
Everything looks in place for a big run and Forest Ranger is a best-price 11/2 with Boylesports for the Doonside Cup.
Encapsulation another with Doonside Cup claims
Encapsulation was not at her best last time out, but – if bouncing back – looks a leading contender on the pick of her form.
This three-year-old daughter of Zoffany came good at the second time of asking when trained in Ireland by Noel Meade and scoring easily by 4 3/4 lengths at Clonmel.
That taking success saw her pitched into Listed company and Encapsulation ran a cracker when beaten just half-a-length by Pink Dogwood in the 1m 2f Salsabil Stakes at Navan.
The winner is a very smart sort who has since finished runner-up in the Epsom Oaks and third in the Group 1 Pretty Polly and Irish Oaks at The Curragh.
Tarnawa, who finished a further 1 1/4 lengths behind in third, has since landed two Group 3 contests and the Group 2 Blandford Stakes at that venue. That gives the form a very strong look in relation to this.
There was a lot to like about Encapusalation’s first start for Andrew Balding at Sandown in July when a three-quarters of a length runner-up to Hidden Message in the Listed 1m Coral Distaff.
She then may have found the race coming too soon when a well-beaten last of six to Fanny Logan in the same grade over 1m at York, and could prove a different proposition following a 55-day break.
The step back up to 1m 2f is also in her favour, so Encapsulation is another with claims in a trappy looking renewal of the Doonside Cup and can be backed at 11/2 with BetVictor.