Media release: Ayr Racecourse looks forward to another successful year in 2011

THE profile of Ayr Racecourse has never been higher, thanks to back to back wins in 2009 and 2010 for Frankie Dettori in the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup, and also Merigo – trained by Alan Parker and owned by Raymond Anderson Green – becoming the first Scots-trained horse in 28 years to win the Coral Scottish Grand National.

Begins a spokesperson: “Crowds at Ayr during 2010 were very healthy and up on the previous year, and confidence is high for another positive 12 months.

“With three meetings in January, a further three in February and two more in March, the team at Ayr will head into April well prepared for the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 15 April and Saturday 16 April.

“The richest jumps race meeting in Scotland will again feature some of the top horses, trainers and jockeys in the sport, and all these ingredients combine to make this one of the spectacles of the entire National Hunt season in the UK.”

The Friday action features the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase which has produced some notable winners over the years, including Three Mirrors from the Ferdy Murphy stable and the highly-rated Jim Goldie-trained Stormin’ Exit.

This race also features one of the longest running sponsorships at the track dating back more than 17 years.

The spokesperson added: “Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday remains the best attended single fixture of the year at Ayr Racecourse, and is one of the most fabulous spectacles in sport.

“Up to 30 runners thunder round the track for over four miles and the scenes in the Winners Enclosure afterwards are befitting of such a historical event.

“For the first time, the 2011 Scottish National will feature some portable fences, as Ayr clerk of the course, Emma Marley, has invested in three such fences – two in the back straight and one in the home straight – which will replace other obstacles, and 27 fences will still be jumped.

“And although it is difficult to predict anything this far out, there could well be another Scotland-trained winner – with Lucinda Russell’s Silver By Nature, owned by Geoff Brown, chair of St Johnstone Football Club, being trained with the race very much in mind.

“As ever, the Coral Scottish National Festival brings the curtain down on the National Hunt season at Ayr, and come May – the 25th and 26th to be exact, the flat season will kick off with a two-day fixture.”

In 2011 there will be 16 flat fixtures at Ayr with more than a few highlights on the way.

In recent years, one of the fastest-growing meetings at the track is the Saints and Sinners Racenight and Scottish Sun Raceday coming on the evening of 17 June and the afternoon of 18 June.

More than 16,500 attended the two-day fixture in 2010, and while Alexandra Burke’s appearance after racing at Saints and Sinners was memorable, the highlight was undoubtedly the racecourse debut of the Richard Fahey trained Wootton Basset in the Real Radio EBF Maiden Stakes on the Scottish Sun Raceday.

Little did anyone realise then that this horse, which won at 11/4, would go onto be one of the best juveniles of the season, land a Group 1 race at Longchamp, and pick up more than £500,000 in prize money during the season.

It remains to be seen if the Scottish Sun Raceday 2011 produces another equine star, but one thing is certain it will be once again one of the best Saturday afternoon fixtures of the summer, and one of three fixtures during the year that is shown live on Channel 4 – the others being the Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday and the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Saturday.

A new fixture on Monday 11 July now means there will be three Monday meetings in July on the 11th, the traditional Glasgow Fair Monday on the 18th and also on the 25th. There then follows Ladies Night on 6 August and a Tuesday afternoon fixture on 9 August.

The three-day William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival running from Thursday 15 September until Saturday 18 September is the showpiece of the flat seasion at Ayr with some fabulous races over the three days.

This meeting, as with the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, attracts enthusiasts from all over the UK and Ireland to enjoy top-quality horse racing and entertainment.

One of the longest-established fixtures in the horse racing calendar dating back to the early 19th century, the festival oozes class combining some of the best horses in the land with the top jockeys and trainers.

The opening day of the festival features the Handicap for the Kilkerran Cup, while the two main races on Friday are the William Hill (Ayr) Bronze Cup over six furlongs for horses who failed to get into either the Gold or Silver Cups, and the Harry Rosebery Stakes for the South Ayrshire Cup, a Listed Race for two year olds.

There are seven races on Thursday and Friday and eight on Saturday, when the highlight is undoubtedly the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup over the straight six furlongs – Europe’s richest sprint handicap with £150,000 in prize money.

The William Hill (Ayr) Silver Cup is also run on the Saturday – about an hour before its big brother – and two other outstanding races on the Saturday are the Doonside Cup, a Listed Race, and the Laundry Cottage Stud Firth Of Clyde Stakes.

Upwards of 22,000 people flock to the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup over the three days, and there is a truly terrific atmosphere not just at the track but all round town.

Monday 31 January 2011

Racing returns to Ayr Racecourse on Monday 31 January for the January Jumps Raceday featuring seven races, with the action commencing at 1.15pm.

The first race on the card is the Bet Live At Novices’ Hurdle over two miles, followed by a two mile four furlong Novices’ Hurdle at 1.45pm.

Feature races on the afternoon are the Best Odds Guaranteed At Novices’ Chase and the Play Casino At Handicap Chase at 2.15pm and 2.50pm respectively.

Final race on the card is the Bet Now At Standard National Hunt Flat Race at 4.30pm.

For further information, please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.

Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the wealth and rich diversity of entrepreneurial talent and business excellence that abounds here within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.

Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel, the Turnberry Golf Resort and South Ayrshire Council, and member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes is executive chair of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, and managing director is public relations consultancy Fame Publicity Services proprietor, Murdoch MacDonald.

Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:

South Ayrshire Council
Clydesdale Bank
Turnberry Hotel and Golf Resort
Ayr Racecourse
Western House Hotel
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Accident & Injury Claims Centre
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers
Donald Ross Estate Agents:
Westgale Ltd Building Contractors
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants
Paligap Creative Agency
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects
JB Management – Training Providers
Brunston Castle Golf Club
Fouters Restaurant
Christie Financial Planning Ltd
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors
Kestrel Press
Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy
West Sound Radio
Easton Property
Easton Kitchens & Bathrooms

For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail


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Contact: Murdoch MacDonald