Guide to the Ayr Gold Cup Festival & a 263/1 Treble

The 2018 Ayr Gold Cup, Son Of Rest (Chris Hayes) and Baron Bolt (Cameron Noble) dead heat

The pick of the week’s Horse Racing comes courtesy of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival, a three day meeting filled with fiendishly difficult handicaps and a number of quality pattern races for juveniles and older horses.

With twenty four races over the next few days, four of which are live on ITV Racing, the action comes thick and fast. Here’s a number of betting pointers for you, as well as a 263/1 treble, including eye-catchers from the Firth Of Clyde and the Gold Cup on Saturday.

Leading Trainers in 2019 –

  • Jim Goldie – 6/82 – Course specialist Nicholas T, a six time winner here, including three in 2019, in the 4.25 on Saturday.
  • David O’Meara – 5/17 – Gulliver, fresh from a close third at the Curragh last Saturday, and Summerghand, second in the St. Wilfrid, are leading contenders in the Gold Cup.
  • Mark Johnston – 5/23 – Group Two winning juvenile Dark Vision hasn’t had much luck this year. He goes in the 2.00 on Saturday.
  • Roger Fell – 5/23 – Presidential is entered in all three of the Cup events. Friday’s Bronze Cup looks the most likely destination.
  • Keith Dalgleish – 5/56 – Recent winner What’s The Story is the market leader in Thursday’s Doonside Cup. He’s running in Listed company for the first time.

Leading Jockeys in 2019 –

  • Donagh O’Connor – 5/7 – No booked rides for O’Connor, as he unfortunately fractured his neck in August.
  • Clifford Lee – 4/14 – He partners Lady Aria, Group Three placed as a two-year-old, in the Arran Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes on Friday.
  • David Nolan – 4/16 – A close fourth last time out after a gelding op, Jem Scuttle is seven pounds below his last winning mark. He’s of interest in the 4.55 on Friday.
  • Kevin Stott – 4/19 – Bogged down on soft ground last time, True Romance will be attempting to return to winning ways in the 5.00 on the first day of the meet.
  • Jamie Gormley – 4/23 – The admirable mare Economic Crisis is a twelve time winner, once here, who was beaten a head last time out. She goes in the 4.30 on Thursday.


The feature on the first day of the meeting comes in the form of the Doonside Cup Stakes. A Listed race over ten furlongs, it’s wide open this year – Saeed bin Suroor, who’s won four of the last ten editions, fails to send a runner and Danny Tudhope, who’s won the last two runnings, doesn’t have a ride.

The one of greatest interest is Tom Dascombe’s Iconic Choice who won her last start in this grade and is also one from one here. She’s been highly tried this year, beaten a head in the Fred Darling and a close seventh in the Guineas. Dropped in grade and up in trip, she’s a leading contender after a break.


Two Listed contests dominate proceedings on the Friday, with the Harry Roseberry Stakes a sprint for the juveniles. Won by Quiet Reflection in 2015, this year’s most interesting runner is surely Ickworth, who is sent over from Ireland by Will McCreery who won the race in 2013.

A winner of her first two starts, she refused to race in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot for which she was well fancied before failing to stay six furlongs in a Group Two at the Curragh in June. Off since, she makes a welcome return to sprinting, and is back in Listed company in which she won on her second start.

Michael Dods won the Arran Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes last year, and this year he sends hat-trick seeking Que Amoro to Ayr. Rapidly progressive this season, she won over this trip by seven lengths in July before landing a competitive handicap last time out, both at York.


A jam-packed final day of the meeting, with four races covered on ITV Racing. The week’s sole Group race comes in the form of the Firth Of Clyde Stakes, a Group Three for juvenile fillies. Lady Cecil’s Shaden landed the spoils in 2015, and a similarly named Shadn looks a huge player this time around.

A cosy winner in this grade at Newbury over six in July, she was unlucky in defeat in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood last time out. With the winner since placed in a Group Two and the second a subsequent winner, she comes here with rock solid form behind her.

The feature of the week is of course the Gold Cup, a fiercely competitive six furlong cavalry charge. The Irish are bidding for back to back successes, after Son Of Rest dead-heated for Fozzy Stack last year.

Fresh from winning the Ebor in August with Mustajeer, Ger Lyons’ contender Buffer Zone heads the market. There’s every reason for that, after a comprehensive win of a big field handicap at the Curragh last week. Well treated under a penalty, the progressive four-year-old could end up being a lot shorter on the day.

The treble can be backed at 263/1, best priced at time of writing.

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