The Ayr Gold Cup is Scotland's answer to England's long tradition of 'Gold Cup' events. Whether it is the Gold Cup at Cheltenham or the Gold Cup at Ascot Racecourse, the Ayr Gold Cup easily holds its own with its southern cousins. It's so popular with racegoers all over the United Kingdom that Ayr Racecourse now hosts a three-day racing festival to celebrate the annual running of the Ayr Gold Cup.
The AYR Gold Cup is a six furlong sprint on a straight portion of track at Ayr Racecourse (left-handed). This handicap event is open to three-year-old thoroughbreds and older. The weight requirement is at the discretion of the handicapper.
location: Ayr Racecourse
grade: Class 2
race type: Flat (Sprint Handicap)
When the Ayr Gold Cup was established in 1804, entry was restricted to Scottish thoroughbred racehorses only. The race was run over a mile and three furlongs until 1907 when it was reduced to a six-furlong sprint.
Today, it is a truly international event staged in conjunction with the Ayr Silver Cup and the Ayr Bronze Cup. Entry into the Gold Cup is reserved for the finest sprinters of the season. The number of starters is limited to 27, a number which is maxed out most years, meaning the Ayr Gold Cup is often a helter-skelter race full of incident.
Currently sponsored by bookmaker William Hill, the Ayr Gold Cup is one of the richest sprinting challenges in Europe with a purse approaching a quarter million. So, move over Royal Ascot, because it's time for the Ayr Gold Cup Festival.
In its earliest beginnings, the Gold Cup was tailored to milers or mid-distance Scottish racers. Presently, it is a sprint event that attracts international talent. These records reflect the past and present versions of the Ayr Gold Cup (as of 2017) .
The most successful trainer remains Tom Dawson who won on 15 occasions from Inheritor in 1835 to Good Hope in 1869.
Dazzle is the most successful horse with a record three wins.
The record lowest weight winner was Marmaduke Junks (1936). The record highest (10 stones) is held by Roman Warrior (1975).
From 1980 on, only five jockeys can claim to have won twice including John Lowe (1980, 1990), Jimmy Fortune (1989, 1996), Darryll Holland (1995, 2001), Adrian Nicholls (2000, 2002), and Frankie Dettori (2009, 2010).
Here are a few of the best moments in recent Gold Cup history (as of 2017) .
2007 marked a remarkable upset as 20/1 shot Advanced placed first ahead of 22/1 shot Benwilt Breeze by a neck and 100/1 shot Patavellian placed third. 5/1 favourite Borderlescott finished nineteenth. Even for a handicap event with a large field, this result surprised punters.
The Gold Cup Saturday of 2013 was a momentous occasion as teen jockey Oisin Murphy set a record for winning four events including the Ayr Gold Cup. The other three included the Ayrshire Handicap, Jordan Electronics Handicap and Support Handicap.