The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Three global humanitarians contest Robert Burns' 260th birthday award

Three incredible finalists are in the running for a prestigious global award named in honour of the Scots Bard, with the winner to be announced at a special ceremony next week in the very cottage where Robert Burns was born 260 years ago.

Humanitarian Umra Omar founder of Safari Doctors, which provides essential medicines and healthcare to people in remote parts of Kenya; nonagenarian and founder of Edinburgh Direct Aid, Dr Denis Rutovitz MBE – who put his life on the line to assist victims of natural disaster and war around the world; and human rights campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera CBE – who founded Karma Nirvana, which supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage have been shortlisted as finalists for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2019.

Part of the Burns an’a’that! Festival 2019 and Burns 260 celebrations, the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is supported by South Ayrshire Council and Scotland's Winter Festivals – a programme of events funded by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland.

The award recognises courage, commitment, inspiration and hands-on humanitarian efforts from people of any nationality, race, age or gender, with the three finalists meeting that criteria perfectly.

Umra Omar (35) (pictured above) founded Safari Doctors in Lamu, Kenya in 2015 and now provides essential medicines and healthcare to around 20,000 people in 20 villages along the country’s remote coastline. The free service is provided by land, sea and air to villages that are caught between military and militants, and it has seen child immunisations rise, communicable diseases halve, expectant mothers attend antenatal appointments double, and family planning triple. Safari Doctors’ mission is to provide affordable and appropriate healthcare to marginalised communities, with the aim of creating thriving communities in remote settings that have adequate access to affordable health solutions and improved livelihoods. Umra has also launched a youth Health Ambassadors programme with 30 young men and women, across eight villages, having received basic health education and training, with the aim of them becoming leaders in their communities and promoting wellbeing.

Umra said: “If we can, then we must make a difference – life is a journey for service. We are humbled and honoured to follow in the spirit of Robert Burns. It is indeed a global village whose fabric is interwoven by the beauty of diversity. In both sorrow and joy, we are one.”

Dr Denis Rutovitz MBE (90) (pictured above) enjoyed a distinguished career in human genetics before founding Edinburgh Direct Aid (EDA), a voluntary organisation assisting victims of natural disaster and war around the world. Established in response to the daily reports of war in Bosnia in 1992, Denis led the majority of aid convoys for the first three years, delivering food and essential supplies – often under sniper fire. After the war, Denis and EDA continued working to provide aid in Bosnia as well as Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Kenya. In Arsal in Lebanon, where there are 35,000 Lebanese and around 70,000 Syrian refugees, EDA operates a community and vocational training centre, sewing workshop and gym for refugees and poor Lebanese alike. Denis has also personally raised thousands to help others, marking his 90th birthday by running two 10k races to raise funds to support refugee twin brothers through a three-year degree course at the Lebanese International University.

Denis said: “Our aim in Edinburgh Direct Aid is to help people in desperate need in distant places, and to do so in person with a hand of friendship, always. In our small way, we work to bring about the Bard’s prophecy: ‘That Man to Man the world o’er, Shall brithers be for a’ that’. And so, I’m honoured indeed on behalf of all my colleagues as much as myself to be selected as a finalist for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.”

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE (pictured above) founded Karma Nirvana, a human rights charity that supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage after escaping her own forced marriage and seeing one of her sisters take her own life as a way out of the domestic abuse within her forced marriage. At the heart of the charity is a national helpline – which receives around 500 calls per month – to support victims in immediate danger, alongside training and development for professionals, including the police, NHS and social services, as well as in schools. Jasvinder and the charity also act as expert witnesses in court, raise awareness at events nationally and internationally and lobby government – Jasvinder’s work over 10 years of lobbying and campaigning was pivotal in forced marriage becoming a criminal offence in the UK in 2014. A passionate and prominent campaigner and author, Jasvinder has spent the last 25 years standing up for others.

Jasvinder said: 'I'm absolutely thrilled to have to have been selected as a finalist for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. I have absolute respect for Burns and his work in the field of social reform. I’ve always received a wonderfully warm reception from the Scottish people, so I'm really excited to be coming up for the award ceremony.”

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Chair of the RBHA judging panel and Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The calibre of this year’s nominees – who came from right across the world – was truly outstanding and my thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate and share the fantastic stories of the 28 nominees my fellow judges and I had to consider.

“While it was no easy task to filter the list down to a final three, Umra, Denis and Jasvinder all stood out right from the start as fantastic examples of individuals who follow in Rabbie’s footsteps and devote themselves to others and push the boundaries for social change – transforming lives in the process.

“It’s fitting that they will be celebrated – and the winner announced – in the place where Rabbie was born almost exactly 260 years ago to the day. It’s going to be a fantastic event and a fabulous part of the celebrations to mark what would have been Rabbie’s 260th birthday.”

The winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award will be announced at the awards ceremony in Burns Cottage on Wednesday 23 January 2019.

As well as the RBHA 2019 title, the winner will receive the equivalent of 1759 guineas (approximately £1,800) – a sum which signifies the year of the Bard's birth and the coinage then in circulation.

Find out more about the award – including previous winners – at

Find out more about the Burns an’a’that! Festival 2019 at

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

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Grand National winner schools at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THE 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur delighted trainer Lucinda Russell last week when he schooled after racing at Ayr.

Ridden by his regular jockey Derek Fox, One For Arthur jumped nine fences and will now head to Haydock Racecourse on Saturday to run in the Peter Marsh Chase, before another tilt at the Grand National in April.

[Pictured: One for Arthur (right) schools at Ayr Racecourse.]

Lucinda said afterwards: “That was great. As always, Derek gave him a good ride, and that will have done him good. I can’t thank Ayr Racecourse enough for letting us gallop and school him after racing.”

One For Arthur was off the course for 20 months after his National win, and retuned at Aintree in December only to unseat his rider at the third, and yesterday’s gallop at Ayr was considered crucial by Lucinda.

The star of racing itself at Ayr was Las Tunas, who made amends for his fall two out at the track on 2 January when winning the Watch Racing TV Now Handicap Chase for trainer Mike Smith and jockey Stephen Mulqueen.

Travelling easily throughout the seven year-old went clear in the home straight and ran out a 10 length winner from The Orange Rogue.

Mike Smith said afterwards: “That was impressive. I was gutted last week when he fell,, but he is an improving horse and can go on from here.”

The feature race of the afternoon the Handicap Hurdle was won by Apache Jack who made all for trainer Stuart Crawford and jockey JJ Slevin to win by three quarters of a length from Bold Emperor.

The last race, a national hunt flat race, was won decisively by Ribble Valley, trained by Nicky Richards and ridden by Brian Hughes, who justified odds of 5-6 favourite to win by five lengths from Milvale.

The biggest priced winner of the day was the Tim Reed trained Leverock Lass, who won the 2m 4f novices’ hurdle at odds of 25-1 under a positive ride from Harrison Beswick. The big disappointment here was the 1-14 favourite Queens Cave, who was never travelling and pulled up after two out.

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.

Celebrating the bard for the 260th anniversary of the birth of Burns

People across Scotland are being invited to raise a glass and toast the bard as part of an expanded festival taking place in his name. The 2019 Burns an’ a’ that! festival is set to bring a fantastic programme of new events and family favourites as South Ayrshire celebrates the 260th anniversary of Burns’ birth in Alloway.

There’s a host of activity planned for January including:

•  New free ‘Burns Hame Toun’ family event with The MacDonald Brothers and Clanadonia and entertainment including horse & cart trips, Scottish street food, poet’s podium and more. The day concludes with a Burning Burns Finale on the Auld Brig  (Sun 27 Jan 12 – 5pm).

•  New ‘Burns Hame Toun Live Music Nights’ live music nights from Karen Mathieson, Horse, Carol Laula and MĂ nran (Fri 25 Jan & Sat 26 Jan, Ayr Town Hall).

•  New World’s First Burns Supper Drive Thru (Sat 26 & Sun 27 Jan 3-7pm).

•  New Burns 19 (Sat 26 Jan 6-10pm).

•  Centre for Robert Burns Studies Annual Conference (Sat 12 Jan, Burns Museum).

,,Wreath Laying Commemoration Service (Fri 25 Jan, 12pm, Burns Statue Square).

•  The announcement of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2019 (Wed 23 Jan).

All of this plus haggis hoolies, Burns Suppers, theatre, musical performances and even a hairy haggis afternoon tea, help to create a programme that the bard would be proud of.

Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture said the programme was shaping up to be one of the best ever, “Every year thousands of people come to South Ayrshire to celebrate the birthplace of the Robert Burns and the 260th anniversary programme promises to be one of our most memorable years.

“Through events like these we’re putting South Ayrshire on the map as a go-to destination as we celebrate the rich tradition of Burns in as diverse a way as possible.

“With a broad range of free and affordable entertainment on offer I’d urge anyone looking for a great day out to save the dates and raise a glass to Scotland’s national bard.”

Burns Hame Toun was successful in securing £25k in funding from EventScotland through the Burns Night element of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme. This event will put South Ayrshire on the stage as one of Scotland’s primary Burns Night events.

Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson, said, “Burns Night is one of Scotland’s most well-known and best loved national days, celebrated by millions around the world. Our national bard is one of our favourite icons, and each year Burns Night is a chance for us to come together, celebrate his poetry, enjoy the occasion and affirm some of our country’s most important values - fairness, equality and internationalism.”

For further information on all events visit the Burns an’ a’ that website.

Live music tickets available from Ayr Gaiety website or 01292 288 235

For events held at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum – check out the website or contact 01292 443 700 for further details

Plus save the date now for the May Burns an’ a’ that! events including family live music festival Burnsfest! (Sat 4 May, 1-10pm, Rozelle Park, Ayr) and more.

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

MPs asked to dismiss UK Government's Brexit options

Letter calls for MPs to support new referendum on 
EU membership in 'crucial week for future of Scotland.'

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell is writing to all MPs setting out steps the Scottish Government believes must be taken to protect both Scotland and the UK from the UK Government's Brexit deal and a no deal outcome.

Mr Russell (pictured above) said the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government should not be ignored and has detailed four key decisions MPs will face in the week ahead.

Mr Russell said: "This will be a crucial week for the future of Scotland but I urge MPs not to think just of the days to come but of the generations to come.

"The UK Government's Brexit deal will take Scotland out of the EU against our will. It will make us poorer, diminish our rights and damage opportunities for future generations.

"The Scottish Government is today setting out our view of the steps that have to be taken this week, to protect Scotland and the UK from the disaster of both the UK Government's bad Brexit deal and a no deal outcome. 

"Four decisions need to be made: MPs should vote against no deal; they should vote against the Prime Minister's deal; the EU should be asked to extend Article 50 deadline to stop the UK crashing out in March; and, MPs should come together to support a new referendum on EU membership.

"Throughout this process, the Scottish Government has offered to work with others to soften the blow of Brexit but our offers of compromise have been dismissed by the UK Government.

"I am now writing to all members of the House of Commons setting out the Scottish Government's view of the way forward and our analysis of the damage the UK Government's deal will do to Scotland.

"If the UK is a genuine partnership of nations it is essential that the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are taken seriously, and not ignored, when the vote on the UK Government's deal takes place on Tuesday."

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Ayr Racecourse and Stagecoach team up on 2 January to get you to the races

By: Iain Ferguson

ALL roads lead to Ayr Racecourse tomorrow 2 January, when the course stages its traditional New Year Raceday featuring seven exciting races.

And those attending needn’t worry about how to get to and from the track as Stagecoach will be operating services on the day including the ever popular X77 Express from Glasgow to Ayr which will run hourly from 8.55am until 17.55pm.

And after racing Stagecoach will run a shuttle service from the racecourse for those meeting the last two X77 services between Ayr Bus Station and Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow. Shuttles will leave at 4:30pm and 5:30pm from Ayr Racecourse to Ayr Bus Station to meet the X77.

To help racegoers have an even better day Stagecoach are also promoting a special ticket for groups of four. While those travelling individually will pay £12 return, groups of up to four can buy a dayrider for only £24.

Links to Stagecoach Festive timetables can be found CLICK HERE 

New Year Raceday is one of the highlights of the jumps season at Ayr and the first race is due off at 12.30pm.

The feature race is a Class 3 2m 5f handicap hurdle with £15,800 in prize-money – the richest jumps prize of the day in the UK.

The main supporting contests are a 2m handicap chase and a 2m novices’ hurdle with the latter won in January last year by the highly rated Better Getalong from the Nicky Richards yard.

Gates are open at 11.00am with the action concluding with a national hunt flat race at 3.45pm.

And after racing DeVille will play in the Princess Royal Suite in the Club area for three hours with a DJ in the Ayrshire Suite.

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.

Monday, 31 December 2018

South Ayrshire Council on target for over 1,000 affordable homes by 2021

South Ayrshire Council is working with partners to deliver approximately 1,000 new affordable homes across South Ayrshire by 2021.

[Pictured: Affordable housing at Elba Gardens in Ayr.]

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) outlines that Scottish Government funding of around £62.5 million for 2019-2023, will be used along with Council and private sector funding to complete the ambitious housing programme.

By the end of March next year, 231 high quality affordable will have been built by the Council and partners with even more energy efficient accommodation set to appear across South Ayrshire, in the high demand areas of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon but also in more rural locations.

There is a commitment from the Council and Registered Social Landlords to continue to work with partners such as the Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure affordable housing meets the needs of older people as well as those with learning disabilities, mental health issues and people leaving the care sector.

Other priorities for new and refurbished housing, includes helping tenants to reduce their energy bills through the use of energy efficient cladding and insulation.

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder said: "We are continuing to work with our partners to provide quality homes across South Ayrshire that meet the needs of tenants. This investment is not just in our towns, we are actively engaging with rural communities to assess their housing needs as well.

“We were recently recognised by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership for our work to buyback ex Council houses so they could be refurbished for existing tenants, so it’s also about making the best use of existing housing stock too. I am confident we will meet this challenging target by 2021."

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

Monday, 17 December 2018

Ayrshire Wedding Show 2019 at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

THE biggest and best Wedding Show in Ayrshire – the Ayrshire Wedding Show – will be held at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January 2019.

First held in 2006, the event is now firmly established as not only the best in Ayrshire but one of the must attend shows for brides and grooms to be and their families in Scotland.

More than 80 exhibitors will on hand covering every aspect of a wedding, with florists, videographers, wedding photographers, pipers, jewellers, wedding cars and much more.

And a long-standing feature of the Ayrshire Wedding Show is the Catwalk Shows which take place on both days, with models showcasing stunning bridal wear. There are three shows each day which are always very popular with the crowds who attend the Show.

There are still stands available for exhibitors, but these are limited, so early booking is advised.

There will also be a band showcase featuring some leading wedding bands.

Opening times are 10.00am – 4.00pm both days and tickets are £5.50 for each day and there is a special price of £18 for four tickets if booked and paid for before 16 January. For tickets and info call 01292 264179 or visit

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.

A Christmas message from South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie

At the end of the year, I always like to look back and reflect on some of the people I have met and events I have attended in communities across South Ayrshire.

Recently we remembered those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in times of war. 2018 marked 100 years since the end of the First World War and commemorations took place in towns and villages across South Ayrshire.

One of the most inspirational projects was our poppy banner which featured over 4,100 knitted, crocheted and handmade poppies. I would like to thank everyone who got behind the campaign; all your work was very much appreciated.

For the first time ever, the Wallace Tower in Ayr was bathed in red light and Ayr Beach was covered in sand drawings depicting soldiers who lost their lives from 1914-1918.

The Royal Air Force was born during the First World War and I attended a service at the memorial near Turnberry to remember the allied pilots who used to train there. I also attended the unveiling of the latest carving at Rozelle Remembrance Woodland - a spitfire which also recognises South Ayrshire’s strong links with the RAF.

We welcomed home local soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland following their six month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus. There was a great turnout for the troops and I know how much they appreciated the support.

During the summer we received thirty peace seeds originating from 'A-bombed' gingko trees in the Japanese city of Hiroshima to commemorate the people that died there towards the end of the Second World War. These seeds have germinated and in time will be planted across South Ayrshire to symbolise peace, friendship and hope.

Young people from all our secondary schools took part in the annual Provost's Footprint Challenge. This year we had joint winners with Southcraig School and Kyle Academy coming top of the class with their innovative environmental projects.

Schools and young people were involved as we celebrated Commonwealth Day and the importance of working together to create a better future. Once again this year we also raised the importance of LBGT rights and lent our support to International Women's Day.

Part of my role as Provost it to welcome visitors who come to South Ayrshire from across the globe. This year we greeted two French delegations one from Torcy in northern France twinned with Girvan and one from Villeneuve Sur Lot twinned with Troon with both South Ayrshire towns celebrating an incredible thirty years of friendship with their Gallic counterparts. It was also great to see young people from St Germain en laye take part in a rugby tournament with their twin town of Ayr.

We continue to build relationships with countries even further afield such as China, we already have a well-established educational exchange programme and many of our primary schools now teach Mandarin. Celebrating Chinese New Year is always a welcome addition to our calendar and this year we also greeted a delegation from Liaocheng City in China who were here to discuss potential investment opportunities and explore new cultural connections.

It was a celebration of all things Polish as we joined with our Polish friends to mark Poland’s centenary year. We also welcomed the Indian Consul General to South Ayrshire as part of the International Day of Yoga.

There have been lots of charity events again this year particularly involving the Ayrshire Hospice who is currently the Council’s main supported charity. Young people from Chernobyl in Ukraine were back again this year as part of a radioactive contamination respite project. We donated £5,000 to the South Ayrshire Dementia Support Association (SADSA) a charitable organisation providing specialist day care seven days a week for those diagnosed with dementia. 

Prestwick is leading the way when it comes to being Dementia friendly and I was in Sainsbury’s in the town to highlight the opening of a checkout where staff are on hand to help people with Dementia.

I’m also a great supporter of veterans charities such as Scotland’s Bravest which is a printing company based in Erskine supporting veterans in learning new skills.

Achievements of a sporting kind were celebrated at a special civic reception at Ayr Town Hall. We looked back on World records, historic league title wins, and gold-medal winning performances as we honoured ten South Ayrshire sportspeople and clubs who made 2018 their own.

Throughout the year the Depute Provost and I have been celebrating with couples marking special wedding anniversaries and we have also been present for some 100th birthday celebrations too.

Christmas is a time of giving but it’s also a time to remember those that struggle during the festive season, a quick visit to an elderly neighbour living on their own can make all the difference. It’s these small acts of kindness that make Christmas special.

I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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

Sunday, 16 December 2018

New Year Raceday at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

A New Year of racing action at Ayr gets under way with the traditional New Year Raceday on Wednesday 2 January 2019, and the card features seven exciting races.

The principal race is a Class 3 2m 5f handicap hurdle with £15,800 in prizemoney – the richest jumps prize of the day in the UK.

This should ensure a good-sized field with many of the leading northern stables likely to be represented. The last running of this contest was won by Elusive Theatre (pictured above) trained in Ireland by Stuart Crawford.

The main supporting contests are a 2m handicap chase and a 2m novices’ hurdle with the latter won in January this year by the highly rated Better Getalong from the Nicky Richards yard.

Gates are open at 1.00am with the first race on the day at 12.30pm with the action concluding with a national hunt flat race at 3.45pm.

And after racing a live band will play in the Princess Royal Suite in the Club area for three hours with a dj in the Ayrshire Suite.

For more information on racing at Ayr call 01292 264179 or go online at

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.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Christmas message from Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council

2018 has been a year of major change for the Council with our priorities to deliver first class public services measured against a continued challenging economic backdrop. It was the year that we made significant changes to the way the Council runs, with our management review streamlining services, to help cut down on bureaucracy and free up our staff to enhance the way they work to deliver improvements to our communities.

Importantly, we now operate with a primary focus on our people and places and there are already clear signs of positive progress.

For the economy, work to secure the £300million Ayrshire Growth Deal with the UK and Scottish Governments is well underway and we’re hoping for a firm commitment will soon be made to unlock Ayrshire’s potential alongside partners at East and North Ayrshire Councils. Watch this space.

We’ve also been working with local companies to help them bid for public sector work, with A1 Ironmongery and Radbury Glazing two recent success stories. This feeds in to our commitment to help companies maximise their impact. We’ve also re-launched our Ambition programme to help up and coming businesses to achieve growth and expand, and worked with a number of businesses to locate to South Ayrshire through Invest South Ayrshire.

We’re also taking forward plans to transform Ayr Town Centre and have been asking you to ‘Ayr Your Views’ on proposals including high-quality and attractive public spaces, a new town centre leisure facility, new housing adjacent to the High Street, and dedicated event and community areas. Further consultations will follow in 2019, providing you with more detail on agreed projects, including designs, costs and timescales.

During the Year of Young People we supported hundreds of young people through employability programmes such as Work Out! and through our partnership with Prince's Trust and Developing Young Workforce, with a new Rugby Coaching Academy the latest project to launch at Kyle Academy. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme also remains very popular and combined with the work of our schools we are helping people from across the area to realise their potential.

We’re also committed to widening opportunities for people of all ages to engage in sport and physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles, through our Access to Leisure card which offers discounts of up to 50% on memberships and admission prices to our activity centres, pools, and golf courses. A pilot at Maybole Golf Course also let people try the sport for free as we look to attract a new generation to take up the sport as part of a much wider campaign.

Looking ahead, the coming year will doubtless bring fresh challenges and we know that balancing the books remains a real and pressing challenge, with more savings to be made. This year thousands of you got involved in a public consultation to highlight the areas you wanted to be treated as priority areas and we listened. Early next year we’ll be launching a new consultation and we need your help as we work to protect vital services while responding to the needs of our communities.

2018 has been a memorable year with lots to celebrate and I hope we can all enjoy the festive break. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Ayr Racecourse one of 8 UK tracks selected as venues for new horse racing championship series next year

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR is one of eight leading racecourses in Scotland, Ireland and England handpicked to stage ‘The Series’ – a dynamic new addition to the flat racing calendar that will see branded teams compete in 48 races with more than £100k of prize money per race.

Championship Horse Racing ( has created The Series, which will debut at racecourses in three countries. The proposed courses are: Ayr, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Leopardstown, Newbury, Newmarket July Course and Sandown Park.

Fixtures are proposed to take place on eight consecutive Thursday evenings from 25 July to 12 September 2019. The fixtures that form The Series will be additional to the British Racing Fixture List and require the approval of the BHA.

Ayr is Scotland’s only Grade 1 track and is home to its most prestigious flat race meeting the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup festival. Ayr was crowned Sports Venue of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Hospitality awards and holds the accolade of being one of only six Large Racecourses to be awarded a Gold standard by the Racehorse Owners Association.

CHR chief executive Jeremy Wray said: “Agreeing the likely racecourse schedule is a key milestone for CHR. Over the next few months we’ll be announcing the teams and the media partners who will broadcast The Series across the world. 

“We’re delighted that The Series is due to take place at such a prestigious course as Ayr, and that Scotland is one the three countries we debut in. They are great locations and have superb facilities for summer evening racing that promises fans something they’ve never experienced before. Fans will be encouraged to engage with the teams and our aim is to help tell the stories about the tens of thousands of people involved in the sport.”

The Series will feature high profile teams and the biggest names in racing. Each team will comprise a racing manager, four jockeys and a squad of 30 horses. 

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.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Update on works at former Station Hotel in Ayr

The works to complete the installation of the roof structure and appropriate protective measures around the dangerous building adjacent to Ayr train station were scheduled to get underway this weekend.

This will involve an extended period of overnight working, due to the need for trackside access outside of train services’ operating hours.

The overnight working got underway on Saturday 24 November and will continue until the conclusion of the works, which is expected to be around Friday 21 December – subject to suitable weather conditions.

Due to the use of a crane and additional lighting, as well as the works involved, there may be some overnight noise and disturbance from the construction site.

South Ayrshire Council Leader, Councillor Douglas Campbell, said: “While our contractors will do everything they can to minimise any noise or disruption from the site, we do appreciate the impact this may have and we’re very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

“We know that having to work overnight is far from ideal, but hope people understand that it’s necessary to address the public safety concerns at this dangerous building – in line with our statutory responsibilities – while working with our rail transport partners to maintain the current rail service.

“We have written out to residents and businesses in the vicinity of the train station to advise them of these necessary works and to ask them, in advance for their patience and co-operation. I would hope that would be forthcoming.”

7Updates regarding the dangerous building adjacent to Ayr train station can be found at

Enquiries from local residents and businesses regarding the works and the impact on them can be directed to 0300 123 0900.

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