Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Ayr Racecourse reports strong entry for the 2012 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup
By: Iain Ferguson
MORE than 200 horses have entered for the £120,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, Europe’s richest sprint handicap, to be held at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 22 September.
[Pictured: Last year’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup winning jockey Franny Norton returns to the Winners Enclosure with his mount Our Jonathan.]
The 208-strong entry includes no fewer than 19 horses from Richard Fahey’s stable, while David Nicholls who has won the race six times has 16 entered.
The Irish have a small but select number aiming for the near £75,000 first prize, including Gordon Lord Byron, trained by Tom Hogan, the winner of the City Of York Stakes on Saturday.
There are four previous winners hoping for a repeat success – last year’s victor Our Jonathan, Jimmy Styles (2009), Regal Parade (2008) and Advanced (2007).
[Pictured: Jockey Franny Norton and Our Jonathan’s owner Dr Marwan Koukash celebrate last year’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup win.]
Sponsors William Hill have installed four joint favourites in the betting at 14/1. They are Duke of Firenze from the Sir Michael Stoute yard, Mark Johnston’s Van Ellis, the Ron Harris trained Prodigality and Jim Goldie’s Hawkeyethenoo attempting to be the first Scottish trained winner since Roman Warrior in 1975 to win the race.
The aforementioned Gordon Lord Byron is priced at 16s along with David O’Meara’s Pepper Lane, winner of the Great St. Wilfrid at Ripon, Gramercy from David Simcock’s yard, George Margeson’s Imperial Guest who won a major heritage handicap at Goodwood at the weekend, Fulbright from Mark Johnston’s stable and Henry Candy’s Picabo.
For the first time ever this year all three major sprints held during the Festival – the William Hill Ayr Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups will be run on the Saturday, ensuring a record number of runners on the big day.
Lindsey Smith, Sales and Marketing Manager at Ayr Racecourse said: “We are delighted with the quantity and quality of the entries, which will ensure we have one of the best ever William Hill Ayr Gold Cups.
“The depth of entry also means there will be quality aplenty in both the Silver and Bronze Cups too, which will make for an incredible day’s racing.”
The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival runs from Thursday 20 September until Saturday 22 September. For more information and details of discounts on advance bookings go on line at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or call 01292 264179.
For further information call Iain Ferguson on 01292 264179.
Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.