Welsh trainer Evan Williams sent two horses on a near 800-mile trip to Ayr Racecourse yesterdayand landed a short price double.
De Dollar Man (10-11 favourite) always looked in control in the opening contest, the two-mile-four-furlong maiden hurdle, and won cosily by seven lengths.
The following race, the three-mile maiden hurdle. also went to the Williams yard but this time BillyBronco (30-100 favourite) appeared very fortunate. Elusive Theatre made all and was still clear by 21 lengths when falling at the second last, leaving the favourite in front.
Paul Moloney, who rode both Welsh winners, said after that race: “He was hanging all the waywith me and there is clearly something wrong with him. I’m not saying he would have won but hewas staying on and I wasn’t ruling it out.”
Another horse who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat was Rowdy Rocher, trained at Greenlaw in the Borders by Sandy Thomson and ridden by stable amateur Rachel McDonald.
It looked as though Gold Opera from the Nick Alexander yard was going to win the two-mile-five-furlong chase but he ran out of steam only 50 yards from the line and was passed by both winner Rowdy Rocher and the second Plus Jamais. It was Rowdy Rocher’s second course win in January and he wasreturned the 13-8 favourite.
Owners Paul and Clare Rooney weren’t at the track but their racing manager Jason Maguire was on hand to see them score a double with Starchitect (11-10 favourite) in the two-mile chase for thetrainer-jockey combination of David Pipe and Tom Scudamore, as well as Jonny Eager (10-1) in the three-mile-two-furlong handicap chase for Borders trainer Alistair Whillans and jockey CraigNichol.
The final race on the card also went to a Borders-based trainer when Stuart Coltherd’s SurpriseVendor, ridden by Sam Coltherd, won the two-mile handicap hurdle at 6-1.
Meanwhile, Ascot Day stepped up on two placed efforts to win last time out and he can keep up the good work with another victory in the 32Red.com Handicap at Lingfield.
David Simcock’s runner is taking a big leap up the ladder as he makes his handicap bow in this class two event, but the ease of his maiden win suggests there is plenty more in reserve for a heat such as this.
Fourth at Newcastle on his debut last October, he was a bit unlucky that day as his rider had to take evasive action when things got a bit tight in the finish and he probably would have been second but for that bit of trouble in- running.
Next time out he had to settle for second at Chelmsford as was a bit keen through the early stages and mapped an outside course, which possibly cost him victory as he was beaten less than a length at the line.
It was a case of third-time lucky when sent to Southwell at the start of January, though, with Ascot Day making no mistake as he powered home by just under three lengths without ever really having to move into top gear.
That might not have been the strongest race, but Ascot Day won well enough and a starting mark of 82 certainly gives Simcock something to work with.