The Top Races at the Festival

THE WILLIAM HILL AYR GOLD CUP (Heritage Handicap)

The flagship of the Festival and the richest Flat race in Scotland with a prize fund of £200,000 this is without doubt one of the most exciting contests in the Country.

This highly competitive race sees a field of up to 25 top sprinters hurtling down the home straight at Ayr in search of the historic William Hill Ayr Gold Cup one of the most iconic trophies in the sport.

The race is woven into history and two more strands of its back story were written in 2018 with the first ever dead heat in the race between Baron Bolt and Son Of Rest with the latter also becoming the first Irish trained horse to win.

A fast finishing Baron Bolt, ridden by Cameron Noble , came from behind inside the final furlong and flashed past the post together with Son Of Rest, the mount of Chris Hayes. The judge took seven minutes to announce a dead heat.

Past winners of the Gold Cup include Lochsong in 1992, who was a year later voted European Horse of the Year, and Brando in 2016 who has since gone on to  win the 32Red Sprint Cup Group 1 at Haydock and another Group 1 – the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

gold-cup
The historic dead heat win in 2018 with BARON BOLT and SON OF REST claiming victory together.


THE WILLIAM HILL FIRTH OF CLYDE STAKES (Group 3)

This is Scotland’s only Group race and is run on William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Saturday for two year-old fillies.

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

She joined the list of previous winners who include Airwave (2002), Majestic Dubawi (2010) and Shaden in 2015.

queen-of-bermuda
2018
 winner QUEEN OF BERMUDA trained by WILLIAM HAGGAS and ridden by JOE FANNING


THE WILLIAM HILL AYR SILVER CUP (Class 2)

This race was first introduced in 1992 as a consolation race for the Gold Cup and was won by How’s Yer Father.

Firmly established in its own right the standard of this contest has risen over the years and the victor in 2018 was Snazzy Jazzy from the Clive Cox yard. This colt went on to win a Group 3 in France and remains in training. 

Richard Fahey’s Utmost Respect was another notable Silver Cup winner in 2007 and then won two Group 3s and a Group 2.

snazzy-jazzy
2018
 winner SNAZZY JAZZY trained by CLIVE COX


THE WILLIAM HILL AYR BRONZE CUP (Class 2)

Lucky Lucky Man gave teenage jockey Oakley Brown the biggest winner of his career so far in 2018 in the Bronze Cup run on the Friday of the Festival – Ladies Day. 

That success also gave Richard Fahey his third winner in a race that was first introduced in 2009 as a second consolation contest for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.

lucky-lucky-man
2018
 winner LUCKY LUCKY MAN trained by RICHARD FAHEY and ridden by OAKLEY BROWN 





 

SHADWELL STUD/EBF STALLIONS HARRY ROSEBERY STAKES (Class 1, Listed Race)

Run on William Hill Ladies Day on the middle day of the Festival the £50,000 Shadwell Stud/EBFHarry Rosebery Stakes, Listed Race is run over the minimum trip.

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.

dave-dexter
2018
 winner DAVE DEXTER trained by RALPH BECKETT and ridden by GRAHAM LEE

 

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, now gives its name to the Opening Day of the three day William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival.

There was another terrific renewal in 2018 in which Ralph Beckett’s Dolphin Vista stayed on powerfully to win by half a length from Andrew Balding’s Morando who has since gone on to win two Group 3 contests.

Some truly top class horses have won this including Scottish in 2015, Anna Pavlova in 2007 and Island House in 2000 and 2002. This race carries prize-money of £65,000.

The mighty Godolphin have won the Doonside Cup no fewer than five times, the latest success coming with Secret Number in 2016.


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 ace was hotly contested over the distance of five and a half furlongs.

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

There is no doubt this contest will grow in stature over the years and we look forward to the 2019 running.

intense-romance
2018 winner INTENSE ROMANCE trained by MICHAEL DODS 

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.

mafaaheem
2018
 Winner MAFAAHEEM trained by OWEN BURROWS and ridden by DANNY TUDHOPE

 

THE WILLIAM HILL SUPPORTING THE FIGHT AGAINST PARKINSON’S HANDICAP (Class 2)

This Class 2 Handicap was formerly known as the Ayrshire Handicap and its oprevious winners include in 2016 Roger Varian’s Morando, second in the William Hill Doosnide Cup last year and a dual Group 3 winner.

In 2018 Waarif triumphed for the David O’Meara yard with young Conor McGovern riding. 

waarif
2018
 winner WAARIF trained by DAVID O'MEARA and ridden by CONOR MCGOVERN
.