The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 17 October 2014

Jason’s treble tops at final Ayr Racecourse 2014 Flat fixture

By: Iain Ferguson

BORDERS born jockey Jason Hart rode a superb treble at Ayr’s final Flat fixture of 2014 last Thursday, bringing his total number of winners at the track this season to 10.

First up for Jason was Lord Buffhead (14/1) for trainer Richard Guest in Division 1 of the Coca Cola Handicap, then came the Garry Moss trained Fredricka (100/30)  in the Guinness Dublin Porter Handicap, and win number three was on Shaun Harris’s Rockweiller (11/2) in the Ginger Grouse Handicap (pictured above).

Megan Carberry was another young rider in top form with a 687/1 double in the first and last race. Royal Regent was sent off at 80/1 in the opening maiden, but Megan brought the Lucy Normile trained horse to hit the front over a furlong out and stay on well to win by three lengths from the evens favourite Sir Chauvelin.

In the final flat race at Ayr of 2014, the Caledonia Best Handicap, the Carberry class came into play as she held Royal Duchess (15/2) up before coming to lead before the furlong pole and comfortably winning by three quarters of a length from Uncle Brit.

Jim Goldie saddled his 43rd winner of 2014 and his 13th at Ayr when New Lease Of Life (8/1) landed the second division of the Coca Cola Handicap under Gary Bartley ride. 

Double header marks start of Jumps season

THE new jumps season at Ayr Racecourse kicks off with a double header with October Fun Raceday on Monday 27 October followed by John Smith’s Raceday on Saturday 1 November.

The opening fixture sees a seven race card with the feature, the Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong at 3.50pm.

The first race, a maiden hurdle is off at 1.20pm with the final race, a national hunt flat race scheduled for 4.20pm. Gates open at 11.20pm.

John Smith’s Raceday is always a popular Saturday fixture with £50,000 in prize-money. The highlights of the afternoon is the John Smith’s No Nonsense Handicap Chase over the minimum trip of two miles and the John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle also over two miles.

[Pictured: Green Flag, trained by Lucinda Russell, wins at last year’s John Smith’s Raceday.]

Gates open on Saturday 1 November at 11.05am and for more information or to book tickets go online at or call 01292 264179.

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.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Glaisnock House set to become a hub for business and cultural links between Scotland and China

A Victorian mansion in Ayrshire is poised to assume an exciting new role in the 21st century.

Glaisnock House near Cumnock has been sold to new Chinese owners who plan to convert the impressive building into a centre to encourage further development of business and cultural relations between Scotland and China.

[Pictured: celebrating the new Chinese investment In Ayrshire - Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes; Sino-Scottish expert and Ayrshire entrepreneur Meiqin McColm; East Ayrshire Council Leader Douglas Reid; East Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Fiona Lees; Chic Brodie MSP for South of Scotland.]

The Cumnock landmark will see visitors from China learning English and being tutored in European culture. British students and business people will also learn Chinese language and culture. The scheme will see the building become a one-stop shop for businesses looking to enter the ever-expanding Chinese market. It is an exciting new chapter for Glaisnock House, which has lain empty for several years.

The project is fronted by Li Peng, an entrepreneur from Dandong in north-east China and Operations Director of UPIC, an investment consortium which involves retail, tourism and education. The company provides students to three Scottish universities and three in England but plans to increase this to 30 overall with the Cumnock site as an administration centre.

Mr Li Peng said: “I am delighted to be involved with Scotland on this ambitious development which I am sure will further strengthen Chinese and Scottish cultural and business ties.”

It is believed the first phase of the project will see Chinese music students arrive in Ayrshire next summer.

In future there are plans for teacher and student exchanges, including schools, as well as increased business development opportunities.

East Ayrshire Council’s Economic Development and Planning teams played an important role in helping bring this development to Cumnock.

East Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Fiona Lees said: “This is great news for East Ayrshire, and I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mr Peng on his recent visit, and hear of his plans for Glaisnock House.

“The Council stands ready to support the development in whatever way we can. The regeneration of Glaisnock House as an educational and cultural centre will be a great asset both locally and nationally, and we look forward to welcoming students and entrepreneurs from China to East Ayrshire.”

Chic Brodie MSP for South of Scotland based in Ayr said: “I am delighted to have been associated with this very exciting new development in the furtherance of Scotland’s relationship with China.

“It is a great honour to have been associated with those who have been instrumental in processing this development so quickly.

“Pivotal were local Sino-Scottish expert and Ayrshire entrepreneur Meiqin McColm with her strong communication links with China, and the legal expertise of Norman Geddes of Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors, who enabled all of the statutory hurdles to be cleared so quickly.

“I also commend Fiona Lees, Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council and her Economic Development and Planning teams who stand ready to bring such opportunities to fruition. They are a clear example of a ‘Council in Action’ ready to seek meaningful business and employment opportunities.”

As well as being Managing Partner of Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors, Norman Geddes is Executive Chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, an association founded in 2007 by many of the top companies in Ayrshire.

He commented: “Ever since the inception of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, we have been pleased to have been associated with the further development of business and cultural relations between Ayrshire and China. We greatly welcome the Glaisnock House project as evidence of the steady progress that we are all making along this exciting journey.”

PR-Inside  BigNews

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Official opening of Barrhill Primary School

There was plenty to sing about in Barrhill last week as children welcomed the official opening of their primary school – just twelve months after work began to transform it into a great place to learn.

Originally built in 1851 and extended at various times up to 1970, the school has been fully modernised thanks to a £1.3 million investment by South Ayrshire Council.

[Pictured:South Ayrshire Councillor Margaret Toner, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, officially opens Barrhill Primary School.]

Officially opening the school during a fun programme of celebration and song from the children, Councillor Margaret Toner, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said: “Last year, we agreed funding of £1.3 million for the upgrading and extension here at Barrhill primary school and what a transformation we’ve seen!”

“Pupils and staff now enjoy teaching spaces that are open, bright and flexible, the nursery class has been relocated and fitted out to a very high standard; and the superb new sport and dining hall is amazing!

“The reception and management areas have been greatly improved and outside areas have been creatively landscaped, creating pleasant places where our pupils can play, socialise and learn. It really is stunning!”

Head Teacher Fraser Baird added: “What we have has exceeded all our expectations and the children were in awe when they finally saw the building on their return to school. 

“The transformation has been incredible and has made learning and working at Barrhill primary school a pleasure for everyone, providing us with an outstanding building that will help us deliver every aspect of the curriculum in the 21st century.”

Councillor Toner concluded: “We are fully committed to giving our young people the best possible education and a solid platform on which to succeed in learning and in life.

“We’re proud of our commitment to investing in rural schools, with new primaries opened in Colmonell and Kirkmichael – and future plans progressing for an exciting new school at Dailly and a new community school and campus at Tarbolton.

“This will ensure our young children – no matter where they are from – can get the best possible start in life. 

“Barrhill Primary is an important part of the village and is a place of which the whole community can be proud, now and for many more years to come.

“It was a great pleasure for me to officially declare the school open.”

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