Dean Ivory is a trainer who seems to have a particular knack with sprinters and has fine prospects of landing one of the biggest handicap sprint prizes of the season, the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at the Scottish track on September 21, with his rapidly progressive Tropics.
On a day when the yard’s Sirius Prospect landed a Group 3 contest at York’s Ebor Festival, Ivory went on to have a further two successes at Newmarket with Lancelot du Lac and with Tropics, who stepped up into listed company for the first time in his career and duly justified 2/1 favouritism in the Stobart Members Club Hopeful Stakes, bursting through from off the pace to run on strongly to score from the useful Nocturn by a length.
Remarkably, the gelded son of Speightstown did not see a racecourse as a juvenile or as a three-year-old, making his debut as a four-year-old last term, winning once and finishing placed on his other three starts.
Starting this campaign on a mark off 84, he scored at Windsor in May over his optimum trip of six furlongs, was caught in the last strides at the same track a few weeks later, before scoring on a third visit to the Thameside track at the expense of subsequent Stewards’ Cup hero Rex Imperator.
A serious gamble for the valuable Sky Bet Dash, Ivory’s charge fought like a lion to score by a short-head from Summerinthecity before finishing a fine sixth in the Stewards’ Cup off a mark of 106, having been sent off favourite on Betfair.
Now a top priced 12/1 chance for the cavalry charge that is the Ayr Gold Cup, Tropics has the progressive profile of a horse who should go very well in the showcase Scottish race and appears equally at home on quick or easy ground.