Thursday, 24 September 2009
Thousands flock to Ayr Racecourse for weekend fun
By: Iain Ferguson
SUN and fun – just two of the ingredients that combined to make the 2009 William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse one of the best in living memory.
Crowds exceeded expectations, with more than 21,000 attending over the three days and 12,500 packing the course on Saturday.
And everyone voted the Festival an outstanding success. One racegoer John Robinson, a Newcastle businessman, commented: “I race all over – York, Doncaster, Ascot and Longchamp. Ayr is exceptional, and the staff are wonderful.”
One lady who certainly had an unforgettable experience at the track was London girl Alex Wilson. Marketing manager of Investec, who were sponsoring a race on Friday, Alex landed a bronze coin as one of the Best Dressed Ladies and went on to draw the winning horse in the William Hill (Ayr) Bronze Cup – Baldemar.
A stunned and delighted Alex was presented with her prize - a fabulous Vauxhall Tigra Rouge Special Edition - by Jim Smith, managing director of sponsors Kerr & Smith and Iveco Trucks.
Alex said: “It is unbelievable. It’s my first trip to Ayr races, and I’ve won this fabulous car. I’m so excited – now I’ll have to arrange another visit here to drive my car back home.”
Runner-up was Nicola Healy of Kilmarnock, who won a seven-night cruise courtesy of Stewart Travel and Fred Olsen. Third prize went to Mauchline woman Jillian Wyllie – a piece of jewellery from Alex Cairncross and a spa package for two from Purity Spa at Lochgreen House.
Jim Smith said: “This is our second year of sponsorship, and it has been a great occasion once again. I’m delighted that Alex has won the car – it’s the very last one in the UK, and is a real collectors piece.
“I’m also happy to confirm that I’ll be sponsoring the Ladies Day prize again next year.”
Slater Menswear sponsored the Best Dressed Gent competition, and this was won by Scott Stimson of Ayr who was presented with £300 of Slater vouchers from Ayr Slater Menswear manager Jack Blades.
Around £2 million was pumped into the local economy, with hotel rooms within a 15 mile radius sold out and bars, restaurants and taxi firms also benefiting.
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