I arrived at Ayr nice and early on Saturday morning and entered the course just after 11am, just in time to see Franny Norton walking the course – what a tip that was to turn out to be with him winning the main event on Our Jonathan.
I have been to Ayr during the jumps season in the past and it is a lovely course which provides excellent viewing due to the flat nature of the course. Excellent vantage points abound in the Princess Royal Stand and the Paddock Stand.
I took up my position between the pre-parade ring and the parade ring in plenty of time to see the two-year-old runners coming into the pre-parade ring before the first race. More racegoers really should spend a little time before each race looking at the horses in the parade ring, as an inspection of your favoured runners will certainly help to confirm or discourage your selection.
However you choose to enjoy your day at the races, plenty of racegoers were enjoying the facilities on the Champagne Lawn at the back of the parade ring, while others were enjoying the facilities in the excellently-appointed Club Enclosure.
The racing on Saturday mirrored the facilities but in the first race my paddock pick could only finish second. The next race was the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup which was guaranteed to keep us paddock judges on our toes with no fewer than 24 runners. I did mention that the winner Cheveton looked in good order, but to be fair I did not pick him as one of my main paddock picks. However, I did manage to find Maarek who finished fourth at odds of 25/1 for each way backers.
The third race on the bumper eight-race card, the Group 3 Laundry Cottage Stud Firth Of Clyde Stakes was very successful with my main paddock pick Roger Sez winning by 4 lengths at odds of 14/1, his first win in Group company. We then moved onto the main event of the day, the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup with just the 26 runners. I came close to the winner picking out Eton Rifles which finished second and was backed in from 8/1 to 6/1 favourite.
The fourth race was very tricky and although I did make mention of the 4-length winner Xilerator I did not pick him as my paddock pick. I was really looking forward to the Listed Doonside Cup Stakes as Poet’s form in the ground looked exceptional. He looked a picture in the pre-parade ring and I had my only bet of the day on him which was never in danger as he made all going on to win by 4 lengths.
I had no luck in the seventh race but I did save my best paddock tips for the last race. There were a number of decent looking horses but I went for Lexington Bay and Bollin Greta who came first and second at odds of 5/1 and 7/1 with the straight forecast paying £42.21.
If you have not visited Ayr racecourse I would strongly recommend that you do at some point in the future, and if your main interest is flat racing, the Gold Cup meeting is well worth attending with its friendly crowds and excellent racing.