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Saturday 24 September 2011

Who won the medals at Ayr ?

This post was first published on Wednesday 21st September 2011 on my word press site.

Well last weekend we had the three divisions of the Ayr Gold Cup.
The bronze cup was won by the Richard Fahey trained Coolminx by a short head from his stablemate Jeannie Galloway with 1/2 length back to David Nicholls Esprit De Midas and a further 2 1/2 lengths back to the fast finishing Mandalay King in fourth.
The first two came from opposite sides of the track and Fahey had said pre race that he was happy with all of his horses and that more rain wouldnt be a problem. Jeannie Galloway although second could be considered unlucky as she was finishing like a train and was only just denied. Esprit De Midas had shown form on soft when with his last trainer and it was expected that he would run well under these conditions albeit the Nicholls stable hadnt been in good form of late but you can always count on them at this meeting as they had won 3 silver cups and 6 gold cups previously.
After the race Fahey said that both horses had been unlucky at York last time and that he didnt think that there was much between them. Jeannie Galloway went on to win a 6 runner Class 3 handicap at Hamilton on Sunday off the same mark.
The time of the race was 1m 13.76s.
After some heavy rain the going was changed from Good to Soft to Soft on Saturday.
The Silver Cup went the way of Soft ground lover Cheveton who stepped up on his win in the Bronze Cup last season off a 2lb higher mark by making all up the stands rail and he takes some beating when he is in form on a soft surface and Dale Swift is now 3-3 on him and the stable are anxious to book him for this weekend wherever Cheveton runs be it Haydock or Ripon. In second was Marvellous Value beaten half a length with Advanced (2007 Gold Cup winner) who came down the middle of the track on his own another 1 1/4 lengths behind in third. Mass Rally stayed on well into fifth, his last two runs over 6f have been encouraging and he looks sure to go one better soon. Over on the far side Bertiewhittle was first home in his group, it was a good performance for a 3yo and being with David Barron its unlikely we have seen the best of him. Fathsta was dissapointing as he had his ground and was well weighted on previous form, maybe he's had one race too many this season.
Cheveton was raised 7lb to 93, Marvellous Value 2lb to 92, Advanced 1lb to 90 and Mass Rally 1lbto 88. Bertiewhittle remains on a mark of 90.
The time of the race was 1m 16.17s
The Gold Cup came up next and Our Jonathan won convincingly by 2 lengths from the improved Eton Rifles with 1 1/2 lengths back to Son of the Cat (Stewards Cup consolation winner) in third and last years Silver Cup winner Colonal Mak in 4th, the fast finishing and enigmatic Pastoral Player was back in 5th.
Often the winner of this race has won over 7f previously(50f last 10 winners) and Our Jonathan had also done just that having won at Chester over 7f in May and as soon as Norton got a sniff of winning he was very strong in getting him home. The owner Marwan Koukash will have a chance to double up again with a win at Ascot after Redford did the same double for him last season .
Our Jonathan had been a Group race winner at 2 so he has always had the class to win a race of this nature and he had been showing consistent form all season and he had also been going well at home recently. He was drawn next to Pepper Lane who had beaten him in the Great St Wilfrid and Ryan had said if he had been drawn earlier at the draw ceremony on Thursday that he would have chosen a higher stall number than 12, so that could have made all the difference. Previous winners of the race have gone on to better things and it can be anticipated that he will do so also as he became only the second of the last 15 winners to carry more than 9st 3lb to victory. He has now been raised 9lb to a mark of 114.
Eton Rifles, also a 7f winner, has come on a fair way since moving to David Elsworth and it wasnt long ago that Howard Johnson his previous trainer was considering a hurdling career for him, although he may still get there with Elsworth a top trainer under both codes. This was Eton Rifles ground and plenty knew it as his price was smashed into right down to 6/1 at the off . He improved on his sixth placing in last seasons bronze cup and he has been raised 4lb to a mark of 106.
Brian Gubby had been worried pre race about the going being too soft for Son of the Cat and he ran a good race in the circumstances to finish third and he remains on the same mark of 99. Colonel Mak also stays on 99.
The time of the race was 1m 15.35s, nearly a second faster than the Silver Cup.