Ayr Racecourse

Saturday 21, September 2013

Valonia, the only runner with Group 1 engagements, has very solid form in maidens at major festivals and should make a bold bid here. Coral Mist, who was third to the selection on her debut and won her next start, looks one of the likely dangers, along with progressive pair Remember You and Simple Magic.

Likely favourite Jack Dexter has plenty going for him, not least his preference for soft ground, but he gives weight away all round and could meet his match in Baccarat, who was impressive at Ripon last time, Mass Rally, who has looked better than ever this year, and Tropics are also shortlisted, with Red Dubawi an interesting longshot.


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How to get there

Course Details

2 Whitletts Road Ayr Ayrshire KA8 0JE

Track Overview

Ayr Racecourse Guide


Left-handed, oval circuit of about 1m4f.

Ayr may not be Scotland's most picturesque track (Perth might lay claim to that), but it's largely considered to be the country's premier venue thanks to the quality of its racing programme, which includes the prestigious Scottish Grand National. The latter was transferred here in 1967 after the closure of nearby Bogside and is now the centrepiece of the two-day meeting here in April, traditionally a couple of weeks after the Grand National. The going at that time of year is usually on the fast side but the ground can get extremely heavy in the winter months and abandonments happen all too frequently. Still, that doesn't stop the big Northern yards running their better novices here as part of their education.

Course Characteristics:

The jumps course is situated inside the flat course but it's still galloping in nature and horses have plenty of room to operate. The obstacles are well spaced and the nine fences that make up the chase course are generally fair, although the fourth last, which is taken shortly after the sharpish bend into the home straight, can be tricky for a novice. The ground does get very testing in the depths of winter and horses need to stay well. That counts against front runners and prominent racers, but at the same time you don't want to be too far off the pace swinging into the home straight.

Principal Races:

The Scottish National, which is run over a gruelling 4m1f, is the end-of-season target for the best staying handicap chasers, particularly those trained in the north. Horses that ran in the Grand National will sometimes compete, although it is usually an afterthought and it takes an exceptional stayer to do 'the double' in the same season, with only the legendary Red Rum managing to achieve that feat. The two-day meeting in April also sees the running of the Scottish Champion Hurdle and Future Champion Novices' Chase, both Grade 1 events.

Top Jockeys:

Donald McCain's stable jockey Jason Maguire is proving to be the punter's friend around here with a 1-3 strike rate, although he still has a bit to go to catch Peter Buchanan and Graham Lee, who lead the way over the past five seasons with 25 and 24 runners respectively. Richie McGrath and Brian Harding make the most of their opportunities here, as does Dougie Costello, who is fast making a name for himself as a rider of staying chasers.

Top Trainers:

While the big southern yards tend to plunder the big prizes in the spring, it's the northern-based trainers that mop up the bread-and-butter stuff staged earlier in the season, and that is reflected in the top trainers table. Indeed, the Edinburgh-based Lucinda Russell comfortably leads the way numerically over the past five seasons with 30 runners and that shows no signs of abating with the quality of her string improving all the time. Jim Goldie and Nicky Richards are two other stalwarts of the northern racing scene and can be relied upon to train a winner here. The Cheshire-based Donald McCain is operating at a strike rate of 29% so anything he runs here must be given maximum respect.

Ayr Racecourse Schedule

  • Time
  • Course
  • Track
  • Saturday 21, September 2013
  • 1.30
  • Ayr
  • Nursery 1m
  • 2.05
  • Ayr
  • Listed (class 1) 1m 2f
  • 2.40
  • Ayr
  • Ayr Silver Cup
  • 3.15
  • Ayr
  • Fillies Group 3 6f
  • 3.50
  • Ayr
  • Ayr Gold Cup
  • No.
  • Horse
  • Odds
  • 4.25
  • Ayr
  • Handicap 1m
  • 5.00
  • Ayr
  • Handicap 7f 50y
  • 5.35
  • Ayr
  • Handicap 1m 5f 13y