Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Thousands vote June meeting at Ayr Racecourse a success
By: Iain Ferguson
SAINTS, sinners, glamorous ladies, quality racing, fabulous entertainment and a mystery prize revealed… just some of the ingredients that wowed more than 14,500 racegoers at Ayr Racecourse last weekend.
The double header Saints and Sinners Race Night followed by the Scottish Sun Race Day established itself as Ayr’s third major meeting behind the Coral Scottish Grand National and John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup.
[Pictured: Silver coin winners with Jim Smith, managing director of Kerr & Smith who along with Iveco Trucks are sponsors of Ladies Day at Ayr Racecourse in August.]
And nine lucky ladies won a silver coin and a passport to Ladies Day Final on September 19. And what a terrific prize awaits the winner of the final after Miss UK Nieve Jennings unveiled a silver Alfa Romeo Spider 2.2 JTS as the mystery car provided by Kerr & Smith / Iveco Trucks, suppliers of commercial vehicles in South West Scotland.
[Pictured: Miss UK Nieve Jennings and Scottish Sun promotional girls sit in the Alfa Romeo Spider - the first prize for Ayr Ladies Day in August.]
Saints and Sinners attracted a crowd just short of 8,000 who were greeted by stilt walkers as they arrived and then treated to samba music from The Beats of Brazil and jazz sounds from Criterion.
Celebrities including comedians Fred Macaulay and Johnny Beattie, SFA supremo Gordon Smith, Radio Clyde DJ Suzie Maguire, ex-Celtic star Murdo McLeod and current Scotland footballers Stephen McManus and Stephen Pearson mingled with the crowd and happily signed autographs.
Thousands stayed on after racing and Bjorn Again played the greatest hits of Abba in the Ayrshire Suite to a near capacity audience while Monster Mash performed their own brand of Rocky Horror style madness in the Horseshoe Bar.
Philip Martin, Saints and Sinners racing convener, felt the charity had been fully vindicated in their decision to move the race meeting from Hamilton to Ayr after 42 years.
He said: “We are delighted with Friday night. We hope this is year one of a long and fruitful partnership with Ayr. We have worked very closely with the course’s management to make this happen.”
On Saturday more than 6,600 people enjoyed the quality racing including a Listed Race, the News of The World EBF Land O’ Burns Fillies Stakes.
Midway through the afternoon there was great excitement when Nieve Jennings took the wraps off the star prize for Ladies Day and the Alfa Romeo Spider was revealed.
Jim Smith managing director of Kerr & Smith was delighted that the launch went so well and that their top of the range Iveco Strallis tractor unit was the perfect backdrop to launch the Spider.
He added: “I’m pleased none of the beautiful ladies had a phobia about insects.”
Iveco‘s corporate director Nigel Emms recently visited Ayr Racecourse giving his approval for the joint Kerr & Smith/Iveco sponsorship, and was so impressed with the facilities that Iveco have committed to launch their brand new Iveco Eurocargo at an event within the Racecourse later this year.
Nigel commented: “Iveco’s Daily Vans, Euorocargo Trucks and Strallis Tractor Units are of the highest quality, and we would look to be associated with similar partners in the launch of any products. Ayr Racecourse certainly demonstrates these qualities.”
Silver coins were presented to Gwen Wilson, Roslyn Simpson and Angela Langan all from Ayr; Heather Weir, Barassie; Isabelle Rodger, Monkton; Leanne Lynch, Maybole; Janet Frew, Annbank; Julia Crawford, Minishant and Victoria Lillies, West Kilbride.
More coins will be awarded at Ladies Night on August 9 and on September 18 and 19.
Reflecting on a successful weekend, Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol (pictured above) said: “The crowds were superb on both days and we are delighted that almost 8,000 attended our first ever Saints and Sinners. Scottish Sun Raceday was again a success and we had a terrific response when our Ladies Day prize was revealed.
“We have built up a reputation for having fabulous prizes and the Alfa Romeo Spider is just a sensational car.”
Ayr’s next race meeting is the totesport Family Day on Sunday 6 July. To book tickets call 0870-8505666 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk
Discounts are available on bookings up to seven days in advance.
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