Ayr stages its final Flat meeting of 2016 today – the Ben Raceday in Association with Tennent’s. The eight-race card features more than 90 runners and £46,000 in prizemoney.
The opening race is the Ben Maiden Stakes over six furlongs where Ayr Gold Cup winning trainer Kevin Ryan saddles Middawi, the mount of Shane Gray.
The feature race is the Crabbies Handicap over seven furlongs and Carluke-based trainer Keith Dalgleish is represented by course and distance winner Edgar Balthazar, ridden by Shirley Teasdale while the powerful Richard Fahey yard is represented by Ballymore Castle who will be partnered by Tony Hamilton.
Chelmsford has a seven-race evening card with Silvestre de Sousa aboard Hersigh in the 6.55 Totepool Racecourse Cash Back Available Maiden Stakes.
Quite what the Brazilian thought when Saeed bin Suroor booked him for the ride is anyone’s guess, but the pair should be celebrating a winner.
De Sousa might have thought he was made, if not for life, then certainly for longer than the three years which he held the post as Godolphin’s retained rider. He was let go by Sheikh Mohammed’s operation, but the following year was crowned champion jockey and all was rosy again.
While he looks like losing his crown to Jim Crowley this season, de Sousa is back at the top of his game.
In contrast, it has been a tough season for Bin Suroor, with the virus, prevalent throughout Newmarket, hitting him harder than most but he has emerged through the other side and the winners are starting to push through again.
This is traditionally the time of year he does well, winning lots of maidens, and Hersigh, having made her debut when the yard was all wrong, showed much more when second to a promising type in Belle Diva last month.
The Poet’s Voice filly tackles colts here - and some well-bred ones at that - but if she continues to progress her experience should stand her in good stead.