Record prize money up for grabs at racing festival

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It is one of the showpiece sporting events of the year in Ayrshire and a number of Arran residents will join the throngs who will make their way from all over the country to Ayr for the Gold Cup festival next weekend. Here we preview the event.

The 2017 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse from Thursday September 21 to Saturday September 23 carries a record amount of prize-money with £715,500 up for grabs.

The £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup run on the Saturday has attracted a stellar entry of leading sprinterswith a maximum field of 25 runners expected to go to post.

Among those likely to contest the race are Saturday’s Goodwood winner Johnny Barnes, trained by John Gosden, who is currently 14-1 clear second favourite with William Hill, with Charlie Hills’s Shanghai Glory, third in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon earlier in the month, the favourite at 12-1.

A new Class 1 Listed race, The  AlMaktoum Cup Arran Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes (Listed Race), over five-and-a-half furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards, will be run on William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival Ladies Day on Friday September 22 – the middle day of the three-day meeting.

Other Friday highlights include the Shadwell Studs/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes, a Class 1 Listed Race and the William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup.

The £65,000 William Hill Doonside Cup, another Class 1 listed contest, run over one mile/ two furlongs is the feature race on Thursday, while Scotland’s only Group race – the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes – is run on Saturday along with the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup.

All the leading trainers, including John Gosden, Willie Haggas, Saeed bin Suroor, Richard Fahey and Roger Varian, are likely to have runners and many of the country’s top jockeys will be in action over the three days.

Tickets are selling fast. For more information go online at www.ayrgoldcup.co.uk