History of the Ayr Gold Cup

The Ayr Gold Cup was first run in 1804 and is steeped in local History. We have compiled a lot of interesting facts about the race for you below.

  • The first two runnings of the Ayr Gold Cup were in 1804 and 1805 when Chancellor won the race. A restaurant at the course is named in the horse’s honour.

  • Tom Dawson trained the winner of the race 15 times – his first success was with Inheritor in 1835 and his last Good Hope in 1869.

  • Dazzle, owned by the Duke Of Montrose, won the race three times in the 1870s.

  • Until 1907 the race was run over one mile three furlongs. That changed to the current six furlongs after the course moved to its present site. It was claimed the reason for the change in distance was to give the Duke of Montrose’s Raeberry a better chance of winning the race.

  • That plan didn’t work with Charis winning in 1907.

  • The lightest weighted horse to win the race was Marmaduke Junks in 1936 and Roman Warrior holds the record of carrying the highest burden of 10st in 1975.

  • Trainer Jack Jarvis won the race three times in a row – twice before the Second World War and once after it.

  • Be Friendly, owned by the legendary racing commentator Peter O’Sullevan, won the race in 1967. A bar at the track is named after the horse.

  • The last Scottish trained winner of the race was Roman Warrior in 1975, trained by Nigel Angus at Cree Lodge – across the road from the racecourse. The Roman Warrior Restaurant within the Princess Royal Stand is named in the horse’s honour.

  • Nigel had previously won the race in with Swinging Junior in 1972, ridden by stable apprentice Richard Hutchinson who now drives black cab in Ayr.

  • Two of the greatest jockeys of their time Lester Piggott and Willie Carson failed to ride the winner of the race but Carson’s grandson William achieved that honour in 2008 on Regal Parade.

  • The Ayr Gold Cup was raced for on a Friday until 1992 when it switched to the Saturday. The same year the Ayr Silver Cup was introduced for the Friday.

  • The William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup was first run in 2009 on the Friday of the Festival and the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup is now run alongside the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on the Saturday.

  • Since 1980 five jockeys have won the race twice – John Lowe on Sparkling Boy (1980) and Final Shot (1990); Jimmy Fortune – Joveworth (1989) and Coastal Bluff (1996); Daryll Holland – Royal Figurine (1995) and Continent (2001); Adrian Nicholls – Bahamian Pirate (2000) and Funfair Wane (2002); Frankie Dettori – Jimmy Styles (2009) and Redford (2010),

  • In recent years the most successful trainer in the race with six wins is David Nicholls – Bahamian Pirate (2000), Continent (2001), Funfair Wane (2002 and 2004), Regal Parade (2008) and Redford (2010).

  • Teenager Oisin Murphy wrote his name into the record books in 2013 when he rode four winners on William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Saturday – the first jockey ever to do so. They were Highland Colori – William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, Levitate – William Hill Ayrshire Handicap, Silver Rime – Microtech Support Handicap and Cockney Sparrow – Jordan Electrics Ltd Handicap.

  • In 2015 Don’t Touch, trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Tony Hamilton won the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup completing a remarkable treble for owners  Nicholas Wrigley and Kevin Hart who also won on the day with Invisible Touch and Right Touch.
  • In 2016 Brando, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden by Tom Eaves won the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup and has since won a Group 3 at Newmarket.

Frankie Dettori has won the race twice on Jimmy Styles (2009) and Redford (2010)

Frankie Dettori has won the race twice on Jimmy Styles (2009) and Redford (2010)

In 2016 Brando, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden by Tom Eaves won the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

In 2016 Brando, trained by Kevin Ryan and ridden by Tom Eaves won the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

The first two runnings of the Ayr Gold Cup were in 1804 and 1805

The first two runnings of the Ayr Gold Cup were in 1804 and 1805

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