Irish trainer Adrian Keatley took the honours on the opening day of the Flat season at Ayr yesterday, saddling a treble with the former six-time champion jockey, Kieren Fallon, riding two of them.
The Curragh-based handler sent out Mo Henry in the Watch on The Racing UK App Handicap at 9-2 and followed up half an hour later with Anonymous Lady (5-4 fav) in the Racing UK Handicap Stakes. Both were ridden by Fallon.
Robbie Downey, a youngster who had never ridden a winner in Britain before, completed the treble for Keatley in the Spring Promotion At Western House Hotel Handicap on Nice Vintage (8-1).
The delighted trainer said : “I knew my horses were in good form and I have a good record at Ayr. We fancied the one we ran in the first as well – Patience A Plenty – but he disappointed slightly. But to have three winners is great.”
Fallon said: “ I love coming to Ayr and have ridden a lot of winners here over the years. I’m based back in Ireland now but will be coming over as often as possible. I ride out a lot for Adrian – he’s a good trainer.”
Another in-form trainer was Uplawmoor-based Jim Goldie who saddled a double. The top trainer at Ayr for many years, Goldie got off the mark for 2016 when Funding Deficit (7-1), ridden by Danny Tudhope, fought off the challenge of the Michael Dods-trained Sea Wolf to win the feature race, The Weddings At Western House Hotel Handicap over seven furlongs.
His second winner of the afternoon came courtesy of Haidee’s Reflection in Division One of the Conference and Events at Ayr Racecourse Handicap run over a mile. Again ridden by Tudhope, the six-year-old broke into the lead about two furlongs out and kept on under pressure to beat Tellovoi, who was finishing best of all after a tardy start. Goldie said: “We thought Haidee’s Reflection would win today although he disappointed on his final run last season at Newcastle.
“The conditions were right for Funding Deficit who doesn’t always run well on his seasonal reappearance as the going is often soft,but he liked the ground today and Danny rode him just right.”
Promising horse Irish Optimism, sent off at 5-1, followed up his racecourse debut by winning the opening Racing UK 1 Price 3 Devices Maiden Stakes over six furlongs from Geno, who ran a solid race in second.
Jockey Phillip Makin, riding for John Quinn, reported that the horse would probably benefit for running over an extra furlong, adding:” He wouldn’t want the ground any quicker than that.” Goldie’s racecourse debutant, Insurplus, caught the eye running into third at 40-1.
Another Scottish trainer in form is Iain Jardine who saddled a big winner at Perth last week with Double Whammy and was on target yesterday with Pick Your Battle(5-2 favourite) ridden by Royston Ffrench in Division Two of the Conference And Events At Ayr Racecourse Handicap over a mile.
There was a fourth Scottish-trained winner in the finale, the Racing UK’s Profits Returned To Racing Handicap, when Keith Dagleish’s Sattelac (7-2) beat the favourite New Abbey Angel.