The Top Races at the Festival

WILLIAM HILL AYR GOLD CUP SATURDAY - SEPTEMBER 21

THE WILLIAM HILL AYR GOLD CUP (Heritage Handicap)
The richest Flat race in Scotland and the flagship of the Festival this sprint is one of the most exciting contests in the country.

With £200,000 in prize-money this highly competitive race features up to 25 top sprinters speeding down the six furlong home straight at Ayr in search of one of the most iconic prizes in racing.

History was made in 2018 with the first ever dead heat in the race between Baron Bolt and Son Of Rest and the latter also became the first Irish trained horse to lift the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.

The race is etched in history and to view the Winners’ Boards in the Weighing Room at Ayr conjurs memories of great horses and leading jockeys who have won the race.

These include in recent years Brando who won in 2016 who has since gone on to  win Group 1s and only recently showed he still retained his class when finishing second in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, a race he has won in the past.

THE WILLIAM HILL FIRTH OF CLYDE STAKES (Group 3)
This is Scotland’s only Group race and is run over six furlongs for two year old fillies.

With a prize fund of £65,000, this invariably attracts some classy horses entries and was won emphatically last year by the William Haggas trained Queen of Bermuda who was ridden by Joe Fanning.

She joined an impressive list of previous winners including Majestic Dubawiin in 2010 and Shaden in 2015. Queen of Bermuda has since been sold to race America.

THE WILLIAM HILL AYR SILVER CUP (Class 2)
This race was first introduced in 1992 as a consolation race for the Gold Cup but is now firmly established in its own right.

As the class of horse running in the Gold Cup has risen over the years so has the standard of this contest.

The victor in 2018 was Snazzy Jazzy from the Clive Cox yard. This colt went on to win a Group 3 in France and has also tasted Listed success in 2019. Remains in training. 

THE WILLIAM HILL FOUNDATION: 
UNITING AGAINST DEMENTIA HANDICAP (Class 2)
This Class 2 Handicap was formerly known as the Ayrshire Handicap and its previous winners include in 2015 Roger Varian’s Morando, second in the William Hill Doonside Cup last year and a dual Group 3 winner.

In 2018 Waarif triumphed for the David O’Meara yard with Conor McGovern riding. This horse has enjoyed a lucrative 2019 winning a couple of Class 2 handicaps.

THE WILLIAM HILL LEADING RACECOURSE BOOKMAKER HANDICAP (for the Kilkerran Cup)
This Class 2 Handicap over one mile two furlongs is raced for on the Saturday of the Festival  and normally attracts strong fields.

The 2018 was won by Mafaaheem in the famous Hamdan Al Maktoum colours ridden by Danny Tudhope for trainer Owen Burrows. 

Other previous winners include the Michael Bell trained Allied Powers  in 2008 before the horse went on to land a Group 3 at Deauville later in his career.

 

 

Son of Rest and Baron Bolt with a historic dead-heat win at the 2018 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

Son of Rest and Baron Bolt with a historic dead-heat win at the 2018 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

Queen of Bermuda and Joe Fanning win the 2018 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes

Queen of Bermuda and Joe Fanning win the 2018 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes

Snazzy Jazzy on form to win the 2018 Silver Cup

Snazzy Jazzy on form to win the 2018 Silver Cup

Waarif ridden by Conor McGovern for the win in the 2018 William Hill Foundation:  Uniting Against Dementia Handicap

Waarif ridden by Conor McGovern for the win in the 2018 William Hill Foundation: Uniting Against Dementia Handicap

WILLIAM HILL AYR GOLD CUP LADIES DAY - SEPTEMBER 20

SHADWELL STUD/EBF STALLIONS HARRY ROSBEBRY STAKES
(Class 1, Listed Race)
Run on William Hill Ladies Day on the middle day of the Festival the £40,000 Shadwell Stud/EBF Harry Rosebery Stakes, Listed Race is run over the minimum trip of five furlongs and is contested by two year-olds.

Dave Dexter joined the roll call of winners last year for Ralph Beckett and jockey Graham Lee.

Probably the best known winner of the race is Quiet Reflection who won in 2015 before winning two Group 1s and then being sold for 2,100,000 guineas. 

THE AL MAKTOUM CUP ARRAN SCOTTISH FILLIES’ SPRINT STAKES (Class 1, Listed Race)
Run for the first time on the Friday of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival in 2018 this £50,000 race is run over a distance of five and a half furlongs.

Intense Romance, trained by Michael Dods and ridden by Cal Rodriguez, just held on by an ever diminishing short head to beat Mayleaf Shine from the Ian Jardine yard.

This filly followed her Ayr success with another Listed win and has since been contesting Group races.

THE WILLIAM HILL AYR BRONZE CUP (Class 2)
Richard Fahey continued his fine record at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival last year when saddling Lucky Lucky Man to win the Bronze Cup.

It brought Richard his third success in the race following on from Baldemar who won the first running of the race in 2009 and Coolminx in 2011.

This is the first of the three Class 2 six furlong sprints run at the Festival and is normally a highly competitive 25 runner race.

 

 

Dave Dexter and Graham Lee win the 2018 Shadwell Stud Harry Rosebery Stakes

Dave Dexter and Graham Lee win the 2018 Shadwell Stud Harry Rosebery Stakes

Intense Romance with Callum Rodriguez win the 2018 Al Maktoum Cup Arran Scottish Fillies Sprint Stakes

Intense Romance with Callum Rodriguez win the 2018 Al Maktoum Cup Arran Scottish Fillies Sprint Stakes

WILLIAM HILL DOONSIDE CUP DAY - SEPTEMBER 19

THE WILLIAM HILL DOONSIDE CUP (Class 1, Listed Race)
One of the highlights of the Flat season at Ayr this prestigious race, run over 1m 2f, has been won five times over the years by a Godolphin owned horse with the latest of these Secret Number in 2016.

Dolphin Vista, trained by Ralph Beckett, won the 2018 running of the race by half a length from Andrew Balding’s Morando and has kept up his good form winning a Listed contest in France in August 2019.

Another past winner of this race was Scottish in 2016.

 

 

 

Dolphin Vista & Danny Tudhope win the 2018 William Hill Doonside Cup

Dolphin Vista & Danny Tudhope win the 2018 William Hill Doonside Cup