The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 18 March 2016

Lucinda Russell on top form at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

LUCINDA Russell returned to form with a vengeance at Ayr’s two-day March meeting on Friday and Saturday last week, saddling three winners and having several placed horses.


The Perthshire based trainer (pictured above) scored with 20-1 shot Shanroe Street in the maiden hurdle over two miles five and a half furlongs on Friday, and followed that success less than an hour later with The Cobbler Swayne (3-1) in the two mile four and a half furlongs handicap chase, beating 6/5 favourite Ballinvarig into second place.

Lucinda admitted afterwards she’d considered taking her horse out of the race because of the ground being soft but added: “I’m delighted I didn’t.”

On Saturday she was successful with Bold Sir Brian (3-1) in the AJ Gallagher Private Clients Handicap Hurdle – all three horses were ridden by Peter Buchanan who was also on the mark with Billy Billy (3-1) for Irish trainer Stuart Crawford in Saturday’s opening novices’ hurdle.

Another trainer at the top of his game is Nick Alexander, who trains at Kinneston Farm in Fife, and he saddled a double on Friday when Gold Opera rallied in the homes straight to win the novices’ chase under a terrific ride from Brian Harding, a replacement for Lucy Alexander who was stood down for the day after Benny’s Secret fell earlier in the afternoon.

Lucy should also have ridden Clan Legend winner of the two mile handicap hurdle for the James Barclay Trophy but her stand-in, brother Kit excelled himself to bring the horse home by five lengths from Marcus Antonius.

Saturday’s feature race, the Ortus Homes Handicap Hurdle for the Craigie Cup was won by Shades Of Midnight, the 7-4 favourite, trained by Donald Whillans and ridden by his son Callum who also rode W Six Times, trained by his uncle Alistair, to win the Ortus Homes Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for the Ayrshire Yeomanry Cup.

Ayr’s next meeting is the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, the biggest meeting of the year in Scotland, on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April.

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.


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Nicola Benedetti masterclass for Ayrshire pupils

Scores of pupils from schools across Ayrshire have been treated to a musical masterclass from international violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti. The session was part of an Ayrshire wide event designed to celebrate the work of Robert Burns.


[Pictured: Nicola Benedetti leads a rehearsal 
of 250 children from across Ayrshire.]

71 young people from South Ayrshire made up part of the 250 strong crop of budding musicians that gathered at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock for an inspirational ‘String Day’ event. The young musicians, from East, North, and South Ayrshire brought a variety of violins, various violas, several cellos, and even a double bass.

Guest artist Karen Powell led a series of workshops and master classes alongside string teaching staff from schools across Ayrshire. Nicola Benedetti made her special appearance during the afternoon rehearsals and young musicians had the unique opportunity to play alongside the global star.

Pupils performed two new musical arrangements based on Scots Traditional Burns tunes Red Red Rose and Deil’s Awa wi’ the Exciseman,  which  were commissioned for the workshops by Scottish composer Stephen Adams.

Nicola said, “Ayrshire’s my home county, where I grew up and where I received my first six years of musical experiences. I have so much love for the people and music-making in Ayrshire and am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a large group of students. We must protect music education in Ayrshire, and continue to fund the free tuition currently on offer.

“Music helps us communicate with each other and deal with all the invisible elements of life. This is a necessary investment into the wellbeing of our society. I am filled with gratitude towards each and every teacher spending their time with the complex and beautiful world of music and passing it onto the next generation.”

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services, South Ayrshire Council, said, “We’re proud to be supporting an event which we hope will mark the start of a varied career in music for our young people.

“We’re sure all those attending will be inspired by one of the UK’s finest musicians, with the session providing a fantastic opportunity to learn from the best.

“We will continue to give pupils the chance to get involved in events like this, which helps young people fulfil their great potential.”

The event was jointly organised by Instrumental Music Services staff at East, North and South Ayrshire Councils and generously funded by the Ayrshire Music Festival. The day ended with a short concert to share the day’s activities with parents and families.

Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today. Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). The enormous success of Nicola's most recent recording, Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Albums Chart. She is credited with broadening the appeal of classical music to young and new audiences through her extensive education work and appearances at events such the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and iTunes Festival. Nicola was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours, in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the UK.

Karen Powell has been teaching Suzuki violin and viola in England for 24 years.  Karen trained in the Suzuki method in both the USA, as part of her undergraduate degree, and with the British Suzuki Institute in England.  She is the music curriculum teacher at St. Gregory’s Catholic Primary School in Cheltenham where her responsibilities include teaching all 350+ children class music on a weekly basis.

Stephen Adam was playing the piano by the age of 3 and later became a student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, where he won prizes for Composition. His award winning compositions include a commission from the National Trust to celebrate the architect Robert Adam and a Suite for Cello and Strings featuring the traditional music of the Western Isles

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