Martin Hannan’s Turf Talk: Goldie eyes rare Scottish glory at Ayr
AFTER a summer of fantastic Scottish sporting performances, racing could see its own hero from Scotland join the roll of honour next Saturday.
The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, Europe’s richest sprint handicap with £120,000 in prize money, is the target for Hawkeyethenoo, the sprinter trained in Renfrewshire by Jim Goldie.
Last month at Goodwood, Hawkeyethenoo won the Stewards’ Cup to give Goldie the most prestigious victory of his career but the trainer would trade that and every other win on his record to lift the Gold Cup next Saturday. It’s a tall order – Hawkeyethenoo has flopped in two previous Gold Cups and no Scottish-trained horse has won our biggest Flat race since Nigel Angus sent Roman Warrior from the local stables to win in 1977.
“It’s a bit of a burden,” said Goldie yesterday as he admitted that he would love to “get the monkey off our backs”.
Hawkeyethenoo has been specifically trained for the race and will have the considerable assistance of Kieren Fallon in the saddle.
Goldie ran the six-year-old son of Hawk Wing in the Group One Bedfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last weekend, but that was just part of the build-up to Ayr.
The problem for Goldie and likely favourite Hawkeyethenoo is that the Gold Cup is almost considered to be of much higher status than a mere handicap.
Many of the runners will go to post rated 100 or higher – that’s Listed or even Group race ranking, and there are a dozen class sprinters in the field who could win
They include Irish raider Jamesie, who was hampered in the Stewards’ Cup.
For the first time, the William Hill Ayr Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups will all be held on the same day. There are sure to be near-maximum fields of 27 runners in each race.
The three-day Gold Cup Festival begins on Thursday when the historic Kilkerran Cup will be awarded to the winner of the williamhill.com handicap.
Friday will see a bit of history for the course. The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay will be visiting their “local” track to rename the Paddock Stand after the town and dukedom.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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