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Supple dismisses Astonished hype; Hot favourite is 'no certainty' in Ayr Gold Cup says jockey.

WILLIE SUPPLE is refusing to become seduced by the air of invincibility surrounding Astonished in Saturday's Ladbroke Ayr Gold Cup after he was called up to ride the French-trained favourite.

"I wonder if there would be this publicity if Astonished didn't have the connections he has, and he was trained by any Joe Soap?" asked the dual champion of Dubai, who replaces Kieren Fallon on the runaway Portland winner.

Astonished's owner-breeder David Brotherton approached Supple's agent Laura Way when it became clear that Ian Balding was unwilling to release Fallon from second favourite Grangeville.

Supple felt he might be in with a chance of the call-up, having ridden Brotherton's Surprised at Doncaster on Friday.

"I appreciate the opportunity," said Supple. "Although Astonished was impressive at Doncaster, I refuse to get carried away by the hype.

"People have said he's a certainty, but in my experience there's no such thing, and some appear to have forgotten that he has a 7lb penalty. It won't be easy for a three-year-old to win such a competitive sprint under 9st 6lb.

"I will discuss the horse with Kieren, but at this stage there is no plan for me to sit on Astonished at Richard Fahey's, where he is lodging."

Supple's engagement provides additional evidence of the Ramsden family connection with the John Hammond-trained gelding

Jack Ramsden, whose wife Lynda trained Astonished before her retirement last autumn and gave Supple rides when he came to Britain last year, provided the jockey with what he describes as his "best piece of advice".

Supple explained: "A lot of trainers have a go at a jockey if things go wrong, but they don't tell them what they should have done right. Jack was never like that.

"He was always telling me to watch and learn from Jimmy Fortune. It helped me no end."

Supple has ridden Pattern winners in Britain and Ireland this season, and his three wins for Godolphin include Fly To The Stars in the Group 1

Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes and Josr Algarhoud in the Group 3 Beeswing Stakes.

John Egan is to renew acquaintance with Always Alight, who he rode to victory in last year's Ayr Gold Cup.

"He definitely runs and John Egan will ride him," said trainer Karl Burke. "He's a funny old horse and the owners were keen to have John back on.

"Always Alight is in great form and the ground is perfect. He is only 2lb higher in the weights than last year and he certainly hasn't deteriorated-if anything he has got a little better," the trainer said.

Pipalong was yesterday confirmed as on course for the Ayr race, but a jockey has yet to be booked.

WITH 680 five-day entries for the three-day meeting, clerk of the course Richard Pridham has made contingency plans for fall-back stabling at Hamilton.

"Trainers may be requested to use this," he said.

Ladbroke Ayr Gold Cup Ayr, Saturday

CHANDLER CORAL HILLS LADBROKES STANLEY SURREY TOTE

Astonished 3 3 3 3 11-4 3 11-4

Grangeville 7 7 7 7 13-2 15-2 7

Pepperdine 10 10 10 10 12 10 12

Deep Space 12 12 14 12 12 12 16

Marsad 14 16 16 14 16 16 16

Tajasur 14 16 14 16 14 16 14

Cryhavoc 16 16 16 16 16 18 14

Always Alight 20 20 20 20 20 20 20

Harmonic Way 16 16 20 18 16 16 14

Ho Leng 16 16 20 20 14 16 20

Pipalong 20 20 20 20 14 18 20

Royal Result 20 20 20 20 14 20 20

Cretan Gift 16 16 20 20 16 18 25

Emerging Market 20 25 25 25 20 25 25

Mutaakid 25 - 25 25 20 - 20

Social Harmony 16 16 16 20 16 16 25

Zuhair 25 25 25 20 16 - 25

Bon Ami 25 - 25 20 25 28 25

Gaelic Storm 20 - 25 28 25 - 25

Perryston View 25 25 25 28 25 - 25

Each-way 1/4 1,2,3,4 Others on request
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Masters, Rodney
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 15, 1999
Words:666
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