The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 29 April 2016

Treble at Ayr Racecourse for Irish trainer Adrian Keatley

By Iain Ferguson

IRISH trainer Adrian Keatley took the honours on the opening day of the 2016 flat season at Ayr Racecourse. saddling a treble with former six-time champion jockey Keiren Fallon riding two of the winners.

The Curragh-based handler sent out Mo Henry to win the Watch on The Racing UK App Handicap, and followed up half an hour later with Anonymous Lady in the Racing UK Handicap Stakes. Both were ridden by Fallon.

Robbie Dolan, a youngster who had never ridden a winner in Britain before, completed the treble for Keatley in the Spring Promotion At Western House Hotel Handicap on Nice Vintage.

The delighted trainer said: “I knew my horses were in good form, and I have a good record at Ayr. We fancied the one we ran in the first as well – Patience A Plenty – but he disappointed slightly. But to have three winners is great.”

Keiren Fallon added: “I love coming to Ayr, and have ridden a lot of winners here over the years. I'm based back in Ireland now, but will be coming over as often as possible. I ride out a lot for Adrian - he's a good trainer."

Another in-form trainer was Uplawmoor-based Jim Goldie who saddled a double. The top trainer at Ayr for many years, Goldie got off the mark for 2016 when Funding Deficit, ridden by Danny Tudhope, fought off the challenge of the Michael Dods-trained, Paul Mulrennan-ridden Sea Wolf to win the feature race, The Weddings At Western House Hotel Handicap over seven furlongs.

[Pictured: Jim Goldie’s Funding Deficit (nearest camera) 
wins the feature race at Ayr Racecourse last Monday.]

His second winner of the afternoon came courtesy of Haidee's Reflection in Division One of the Conference and Events at Ayr Racecourse Handicap run over a mile. Again ridden by Danny Tudhope, the six year-old broke into the lead about two furlongs out and kept on for pressure to beat Tellovoi who was finishing best of all after a tardy start.

A very promising horse Irish Optimism followed up his racecourse debut by winning the opening Racing UK 1 Price 3 Devices Maiden Stakes over six furlongs from Geno who ran a solid race in second.

Jockey Phillip Makin riding for John Quinn reported that the horse would probably benefit for running over an extra furlong and added: " He wouldn't want the ground any quicker than that." Jim Goldie's racecourse debutante Insurplus caught the eye running into third at 40-1.

Another Scottish trainer in form is Iain Jardine who saddled a big winner at Perth last week with Double Whammy and was on target yesterday with Pick Your Battle(5-2 favourite) ridden by Royston Ffrench in Division Two of the Conference And Events At Ayr Racecourse Handicap over a mile.

There was a fourth Scottish trained winner in the finale, the Racing UK’s Profits Returned To Racing Handicap over one mile two furlongs when Keith Dagleish’s Sattelac got up under a fine Phillip Makin ride to beat the favourite New Abbey Angel.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

New era at Belleisle as golf clubhouse opens for business

Golfers from across Scotland are expected to descend on South Ayrshire following the opening of the new Belleisle Clubhouse in Ayr. Staff welcomed the first golfers to the new £1.5m facility today, Friday 29th April, with the clubhouse (pictured below) set to become an important fixture for the local sporting economy.

The Belleisle championship course, designed by James Braid in 1927, is one of the most popular golf courses in Scotland, viewed by many as one of the best public inland courses in the country.

Facilities include: modern changing accommodation (pictured above), a new professional golf shop (pictured below), new starter facilities, club rooms, lounge area, and a golf simulator room. The clubhouse will operate as a family-orientated licensed premises with capacity for 180 people. A full-range of services including bar meals, receptions, televised sports, as well as outdoor events, will all be catered for.

3B Construction Ltd completed the project on behalf of South Ayrshire Council.

Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure said: “We’re committed to providing the public with first-class facilities, and it’s great to see this fantastic new facility open for business.

“The clubhouse has been custom built to cater for the varied needs of golfers, but it also has a dual role and will be available for host a wide-range of public bookings and functions.

“I’m confident that everyone who uses the new building will be impressed by the facilities available as we move into a new era which better meets local needs, and raises the bar to compete with the best in the country.”

The new clubhouse brings off-course facilities in line with the quality of the course itself. It is available to golfers playing both Belleisle, its sister course ‘Seafield’, as well as visitors to the wider Belleisle Park Estate.

Richard Gordon, Head Golf Professional at Belleisle, said the new facilities sent the right message. “I’ve been coming to Belleisle since I was two years old and the new clubhouse perfectly complements the standard of courses we have here.

“From a coaching point of view the new simulator means we’ll be able to offer classes all year round as part of our drive to attract more families to the sport.

“It’s a friendly environment that offers dramatically improved facilities and I’m looking forward to welcoming the next generation of golfers in the years ahead.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

CKD Galbraith offer property for sale on Isle of Cumbrae

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale the Osprey Centre, a superb prospect located on the north side of the Isle of Cumbrae, North Ayrshire. 

The property enjoys spectacular sea views across the Firth of Clyde to Mount Stewart on the Isle of Bute, the beautiful Cowal Peninsula and the hills of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and on the mainland, Largs and Skelmorlie to the north.

The Isle of Cumbrae (also known as Great Cumbrae) is approximately 4 miles long and 2 miles wide and a circumference of about 10 miles. It is a short ferry trip (10 minutes) from Largs with a regular 15-minute ferry service in the summer months.

The Osprey Centre comprises two detached single storey buildings situated on a single track road. The current owners operate the accommodation as a holiday letting business for small groups and families, whilst the second building is used as a sports hall (pictured below). However there is potential for a change of use to permanent accommodation or a variety of commercial uses, subject to planning permission.

Historically, the Osprey Centre was of significant importance and was operated during World War II as an anti-submarine detection base. Known then as Eerie Port, its proximity to the shoreline was a major advantage for listening to underwater sounds in the approaches to the Firth. 

The equipment used was housed in the current living quarters and could detect the sound of any vessel attempting to penetrate the Cloch Boom which stretched from Dunoon to Cloch Point thus protecting the Firth of Clyde. 

The second building was thought to provide accommodation and was said to have a small machine gun emplacement nearby. The buildings were known on the island as “hush hush” - partly because of the clandestine nature of their purpose, but more because of the quiet needed to detect enemy presence.

After the War ended the station lay empty and disused for many years before being converted into a residential holiday centre for children in 1992 by the popular television series at that time Challenge Anneka. The refurbishment was entirely funded by local public appeals and completed over a three-day period.

Today the Isle of Cumbrae remains untouched and unspoilt. The sandy coves and bays are often visited by grey seals, and with a circumference of just 10.5 miles it is a haven for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The main town of Millport offers a range of shops, cafes and restaurants and, whilst it feels like a world of its own, it is less than 10 minutes on the ferry back to the mainland.

Offers Over £160,000 are being sought.

PDF available on

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perthshire, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Young entrepreneurs given expert advice on starting their first businesses

Young people looking to branch out into the world of business are being given the chance to learn how to take the first steps in their fledgling careers. 

South Ayrshire Council’s Business Gateway service and AMBITION programme, is launching a new course in partnership with Ayrshire College, for would be entrepreneurs.

The six-week ‘Pitches for Riches’ programme will give students the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops which will provide an insight into self-employment and entrepreneurship.

[Pictured: Business studies student, Oliva Khan, is one 
of the first to take part in the Pitches for Riches course.]

The workshops will focus on: ‘Planning your business’; ‘Control your finances’; ‘Understand your market’; and ‘Pitch your plan’.

Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure, said, “We want to support young people with big ideas in any way we can and this new initiative is a great way of helping develop the next generation of business talent.

“We hope that young people choose to set up and run their companies in South Ayrshire, helping to create a sustainable economy which delivers job satisfaction and creates new jobs.

“I’d like to wish this new course every success and look forward to hearing about future success stories from people that benefit from this dedicated course.”

[Pictured left to right: John Strachan (Business Gateway Advisor); Stuart Thomson (Prince’s Trust); Jill Cronin (South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Enterprise Development & Leisure); Stuart Miller (Director of Education & Business Contracts at Ayrshire College).]

As part of the course participants will be given the opportunity to present their business plan and ideas to a panel of experts.  South Ayrshire Council, alongside some of its partners, will be providing financial support to the best pitches, helping budding entrepreneurs kick-start their own business.

Stuart Millar, Director of Education and Business Contracts at Ayrshire College, said, “With more and more people considering running their own business as a career choice we have responded with this dedicated course.

“We’re offering students practical advice on setting up their all-important business plans and also giving them first-hand experience pitching their ideas to potential funders.

“By targeting this support early we hope to inspire young entrepreneurs to take their lives into their own hands by equipping them with the information they need get ahead in business.”

The new programme, got underway on Monday 25 April, 2016, will complement the Start-up element of the Business Gateway Service and AMBITION programme in South Ayrshire. 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Paul Nicholls wins 2016 Scottish Grand National - and three other races

By: Iain Ferguson

Paul Nicholls was the star of the 2016 Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse, saddling four winners on Saturday to move to the top of the British Trainers’ Championship ahead of Willie Mullins.

And the Somerset-based trainer capped it all by sending out Vicente (pictured above left) to win the £210,000 Coral Scottish Grand National under a fine ride by Sam Twiston-Davies.

The seven year old was always there or thereabouts, and accelerated from the last past the Scottish trained Seeyouatmidnight who was pipped at the line for second spot by Alvarado.

A delighted Nicholls (pictured above) said after the race: “ I really fancied Vicente, and we’re back in the game in the Trainers’ Championship.

“Vicente isn’t a bad jumper, but he tends to do things his own way. Sam rode a peach of race.”

The main supporting race, the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle produced an enthralling finish with the Dan Skelton trained Ch’Tibello, ridden by Harry Skelton, holding off the fast finishing Cloudy Dream who was an unlucky loser.

This was another tremendous race with Willie Mullins’ Clondaw Warrior in third place and most of the 13 strong field finishing close up.

Paul Nicholls four timer was completed by Vivaldi Collonges, ridden by Sean Bowen, in the Weatherbys Private Bank Novices Handicap Chase, Le Mercurey, with Sam Twiston-Davies in the plate, winning the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase and Gibbes Bay prevailing in the Skyform Group National Hunt Flat Race providing the aforementioned Twiston-Davies with a treble on the day.

It was the first time Willie Mullins has had runners at Ayr, and although he had no winners he had two placed horses and indicated he will return.

Friday’s feature race, the £45,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase saw a huge gamble pay off when Definitely Red, trained by Brian Ellison and ridden by Danny Cook win at odds of 7-4. Given a very positive ride he fought off challengers to win well.

The Malcolm Jefferson yard, unlucky in Saturday’s QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle, were on the mark on Friday in the Abbott Risk Consulting Novices’ Handicap Hurdle when Gully’s Edge (9-2) won by five lengths under Jamie Hamilton to beat the Jim Goldie trained Caledonia.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 n565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

New figures show a slowdown in Scottish construction sector during start of 2016

Slower start to the year, however, growth expectations remain firm

Slowdown in rate of construction workload-growth over past three months

Workloads in the private industrial sector fall for first time since 2012

Growth waning ahead of elections and referendum

Growth in private industrial and infrastructure construction slowed considerably during the first quarter of 2016, according the RICS Construction Market Survey, Q1 2016.

[Pictured: Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland]

On the whole workloads grew relatively firmly, with a net balance of 18% of respondents reporting a rise in construction activity across Scotland. Construction activity in the commercial and public non-housing segments continued to rise steadily, while a net balance of 4% of respondents reported a decline in activity in private industrial section.

There were positive signs in the housing market, with net balances of 21% and 16% of surveyors reporting growth in activity in the private and public sectors respectively.

Confidence in the outlook for the sector in Scotland also looks positive, with 50% more respondents expecting workloads to rise rather than fall over the next 12 months. This is teamed with a net balance of 39% of contributors expecting employment in the sector to increase over the next year.

Despite the positive predictions for growth in activity and employment, 63% of respondents highlight a shortage of skills as a key barrier for potential growth.

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland commented: “Our survey tells us that planning delays and skills shortages are the biggest barriers to growth in the construction sector. Within our manifesto to the next Scottish Government, RICS calls for the introduction of Construction and Planning Skills programmes. These should include building experience within the industry short term and recruiting more people to impact the medium and longer term.”

“That said, there are additional barriers to growth and we cannot discount the climate of uncertainty caused by the forthcoming Scottish Elections and EU referendum. We know that a range of sectors have been affected by these issues as investors look to delay any decisions until a final outcome has been determined, and construction is no exception.”

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Demand rises modestly in Scottish housing market with prices continuing to grow

Demand for Scottish residential properties grew marginally last month as the number of properties coming on to the market continued to fall, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey.

Activity in the Scottish housing market picked up in March, with a net balance of 26 percent of respondents reporting an increase in newly agreed sales. Demand for residential property also grew, although modestly, and continued to outpace new supply coming on to the market, pushing price expectations higher. A net balance of 23 percent more chartered surveyors expect Scottish house prices to rise over the next three months.

Across the UK, while expectations around the number of new houses sales peaked following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, this trend has reversed with 2 percent more respondents expecting to see the number of sales fall rather that rise over the coming months. Confidence around house price inflation has also dampened across the UK, with 17 percent of respondents (net balance) expecting to see prices rise over the next three months, compared to 44 percent (net balance) in December.

Director RICS in Scotland, Sarah Speirs commented: “As expected, we saw the final buy-to-let rush drive an increase in newly agreed sales last month and demand has now levelled off.  Again we are falling in to see a pick-up in new properties coming onto the Scottish market and, with the slight growth in demand, housing supply is still lagging behind

“Looking at the wider picture, there are other significant factors that are currently weakening short term confidence in the UK property market. Elections inevitably bring with them periods of uncertainty in the market, and our figures would suggest that next May’s Scottish elections are no exception.”

In the letting market, despite the increased rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax now expected to be paid by prospective landlords, rents– while expected to increase – are not predicted to rise any faster than it has in previous months.

Craig Henderson MRICS of Graham & Sibbald commented: “Many areas in Scotland have seen improving confidence through the early part of this year, with price growth seen with improving demand levels.”

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Work underway on Troon Golf Clubhouse refurbishment

The ten month project to transform the Troon Golf Clubhouse is now underway. The work involves the refurbishment of the existing building alongside the introduction of an extension, both of which will help to guarantee the building remains an important part of South Ayrshire Council’s sporting portfolio.

[Pictured: Troon Golf Clubhouse – an artist’s impression of 
how the new clubhouse will look when it opens early in 2017.]

The £1.5 million project has been designed by Fleming Muir Architects, with the construction work being undertaken by Ayrshire firm, James Frew Limited. Work on the main phase of construction got underway on Monday 11 April, with the new facility due to open early in 2017.

The refurbishment programme involves the alteration, refurbishment, and extension of the existing clubhouse to provide updated facilities and includes: re-roofing, rot removal, replacement plumbing, glazed extensions, replacement glazing, a new kitchen, new floor finishes, and redecorating. External works include new steps, ramps and alterations to existing paving.

Donald Gillies, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Property and Risk, said the project would provide golfers with a facility to be proud of. “This work will safeguard the long term future of this historic clubhouse and provide first-class facilities for the public.

“The contractors have been busy in recent weeks, with asbestos removed from the site meaning the existing building is now ready for the main phase of works to start.

“I’d like to thank people that use the course for their patience, and I’m sure that when the work is completed early next year they’ll agree that the short term inconvenience will be well worth the wait.”

A fully accessible temporary clubhouse was opened in January 2016. This provides facilities including a starter’s office, kitchen, cafĂ©, golf professional shop, club rooms, as well as male, female and disabled toilets. An external patio area has also been formed. A large external storage unit has also been provided which contains an electrical supply. The golf buggies are stored and charged in this unit when not in use.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Club badges sell out at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

CLUB badges for next Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse have sold out in advance for the first time in the history of the race. 

The ‘sold out’ signs for Club badges were put up late last Tuesday, although Grandstand tickets are still available but racecourse bosses are urging these are either booked in advance or people turn up early on the day. Crowd capacity on the day will be 16,500. 

[Pictured: Crowds at the 2015 Coral Scottish 
Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse.]

The opening day of the two-day Coral Scottish Grand National meeting still has Club and Grandstand tickets available, although hospitality on both days is sold out. 

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We are gearing up for two extremely busy days, and everything is indicating a massive crowd of 16,500 on Saturday. 

“To sell out club for the first time in advance is tremendous and shows just how popular this meeting is. Hospitality has also been sold out for both days for quite some time. 

“I stress to anyone who intends coming racing on Saturday and who haven’t yet purchased a ticket that only Grandstand tickets are available and to either attend early on the day or book in advance.” 

Ayr have upgraded some facilities ahead of the meeting by installing a new purpose built Paddock Lawn Marquee, a permanent structure, and creating new toilet facilities in the Chancellor Hospitality Restaurant on the first floor of the Princess Royal Stand. 

The two-day Coral Scottish Grand National Festival begins on Friday 15 April when the feature race is the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase. 

Saturday’s card features the £210,000 Coral Scottish Grand National and the £100,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle. 

The Coral Scottish Grand National Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday and there are seven races on the opening day with eight on Saturday. In total there is more than £580,000 in prize-money. 

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691. 

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

New Dailly Primary School moves ahead after contracts signed

Plans to build a new Primary School for Dailly are a step closer with the official contracts now signed after reaching financial close. Demolition of the original school building is complete to make way for the new-build phase of the works.  Work on the development, funded by South Ayrshire Council, is due to start on 11 April and set to open in the early part of 2017.

[Pictured: An artist’s impression of the new Dailly Primary School.]

The £3.8m project will deliver a replacement school with educational facilities over two levels.  The new primary will replace the existing three buildings with a single facility that will support a school capacity of 100 pupils.

The school has also been designed to accommodate 30 children in an integrated nursery, something that will allow pre-school and ante pre-school children to attend in a single session.

Valerie Andrews, Executive Director, Resources, Governance and Organisation, South Ayrshire Council, said: “It is fantastic the plans are moving ahead, Supporting our rural areas is a really important to the Council, and this latest project will safeguard education in Dailly for generations to come.

“We listened to what the local community said they needed and to date we’ve received excellent feedback on our plans to transform the local school.

“With the main work now getting underway, I’m confident the community will like what they see when the doors open next year.”

The external areas will be developed to create an exciting environment that encourages social interaction and the delivery of outdoor learning.

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of delivery partner SWHub said: “With a proven track record of delivering for South Ayrshire, we’re thrilled to be taking forward another prestigious project.

“The signing of contracts is a major milestone for the project but the hard work starts now to make sure we can deliver a first-class facility for the people of Dailly.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to develop our relationship with South Ayrshire Council as we work towards delivering this impressive new educational facility.”

Dailly Primary School will be constructed using a Design, Build, Development Agreement (DBDA). SWHub will be responsible for the design and construction and the Council will manage and maintain the facility. 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Top names head to Coral Scottish Grand National Festival

By: Iain Ferguson

SOME of the biggest names in racing are heading to Ayr for this year’s Coral Scottish Grand National Festival. 

[Pictured: Robbie Dunne and Wayward Prince return to the Winner's 
Enclosure after winning the 2015 Coral Scottish Grand National.]

Entries were published last week for the two feature races at the Festival - the £210,000 Coral Scottish Grand National and the £101,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle, revealing a who’s who of horse racing. 

And it’s also certain that the battle to be Britain’s champion jumps trainer will be played out over the two days on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April, with the chief protagonists Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins likely to have many runners. 

Mullins has six entries in both the Coral Scottish Grand National and QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle while Nicholls has seven and nine entries respectively. There are also horses from other leading stables including Nicky Henderson, Alan King, Philip Hobbs, Jonjo O’Neill and Kim Bailey ensuring quality horses will be on show. 

Indeed the highest rated entry in the £101,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle is Nigel Twiston-Davies’s The New One, a hurdler that commands almost legendary status. 

The Coral Scottish Grand National entries include Grand National, Welsh Grand National and Irish Grand National holders in Many Clouds, Mountainous and Rogue Angel respectively. 

Kerry Lee’s Mountainous would boost the near £120,000 first prize by £100,000 if becoming the first horse to win the Coral Welsh Grand National and the Coral Scottish Grand National in the same season. The bonus has been put up by Coral in conjunction with Ayr and Chepstow racecourses. 

David Brown, Managing Director of Ayr Racecourse commented: “We are naturally delighted that trainers the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland have chosen to enter such high quality horses for our two flagship jumps races. 

“The Coral Scottish Grand National is not only Scotland’s flagship race in the National Hunt calendar, it is the fourth highest rated contest in terms of betting turnover and second richest handicap over jumps. It is a huge boost that Willie Mullins has seen fit to enter six horses not only in the Coral Scottish Grand National but also another six in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.” 

For further information, please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691. 

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.