Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Top trainers plot Ayr raid
By: Iain Ferguson
MOST of the leading training operations in the country are planning a massive Ayr raid, with powerful teams of horses heading from the south to plunder the top prize-money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse later this month.
[The £50,000 Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes is
the target for Al Shaqab’s Easton Angel, trained by Michael Dods.]
Godolphin, Hamdan Al Maktoum, Qatar Racing and Al Shaqab Racing have so far this season won more than £8 million in prize-money between them, and will be looking to add to that by taking some of the Ayr riches at the Festival which runs from Thursday 17 September until Saturday 19 September.
Al Qatar Racing won the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes last year with the Ann Duffield trained Dark Reckoning, and will be bidding to retain it with Thursday’s Salisbury winner La Rioja from the Henry Candy yard. This filly looks an exciting prospect, and connections are keen for her to land Scotland’s only group race, which has £65,000 in the prize fund.
The £50,000 Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes is the target for Al Shaqab’s Easton Angel, trained by Michael Dods, while the £180,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is the race that Hamdan Al Maktoum has pencilled in for both Mubtaghaa, trained by Willie Haggas, or Tanzeel, from the Charles Hills yard.
And the famous blue silks of Godolphin will be represented in several races at the Festival, including the £65,000 William Hill Doonside Cup which they have won several times over the past 10 years.
Top Yorkshire based trainers Richard Fahey, David O’Meara and Mark Johnston are all sending powerful strings of horses to Ayr, and Fahey trains Don’t Touch, the current 10/1 ante post favourite for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
The indications are that the 2015 Festival will boast the highest quality of runners ever, and that can be attributed to the massive £660,000 prize money on offer.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We took the decision to significantly increase prize-money at the Festival this year in the hope of attracting some leading horses from top stables and boosting the quality of runners.
“Already various trainers and owners have been stating their horses will be coming to Ayr later this month, and this should greatly add to the spectacle and quality of Scotland’s most prestigious Flat Festival.”
Top youngsters heading to Ayr
SOME of the country’s leading juvenile horses will be heading to Ayr later this month with trainers eyeing some of the excellent prize money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival.
There are no fewer than six races for the youngsters over the three days (17-19 September) including the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes with £65,000 in the prize fund, the Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Roseberry Stakes, a Listed Race worth £50,000 and two valuable nursery handicaps.
Michael Dods has the Harry Rosebery mapped out for Easton Angel, who runs in the famous Al Shaqab Racing colours. The horse came second in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and could come up against the Martyn Meade trained Kurland who finished fourth at Ascot.
And Ann Duffield, the North Yorkshire based trainer, has stated she has an Ayr race in mind for her flying filly Rosina, and it’s likely to be the Shadwell Stud Nursery Handicap on Friday 18 September. A winner of two nursery handicaps at Ripon and Beverley, this will be a step up in class for the filly, but one she is entitled to take.
Henry Candy said after his filly La Rioja won the Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies Stakes at Salisbury that the William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes would be her next target, and Richard Fahey, who sent out subsequent dual Group 1 winner Garswood to win the Harry Rosebery Stakes in 2012, and who has a good record with two year-olds at Ayr, is likely to aim Mayfair Lady to the Firth of Clyde - Scotland’s only Group race.
Leading owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, who is sponsoring four races on the Friday, is certain to have several runners in the two year-old races sporting his famous blue and white silks, and will be keen to land the Harry Rosebery Stakes.
Ayr have invested £180,000 across the two year old races at the Festival, and racecourse managing director David Brown said: “As a track we are proud to be able to say that horses that have gone on to have distinguished careers winning Group 1s were introduced to racing at Ayr.
“This year we have upped the prize-money for some of the two year old races and it looks as if we will be rewarded by seeing some of the UK and Ireland’s leading juveniles in action at Scotland’s flagship flat festival.”
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.