There was drama at Ayr on Saturday as ante-post gamble Son of Rest and Baron Bolt flashed past the post in unison in the Ayr Gold Cup. After much deliberation from the judge’s a dead heat was the decision, which was a big relief to Chris Hayes (Jockey of Son of Rest) who in his own words said:
“I got there too early and he has got me out of trouble!”
Fozzy Stack’s four-year-old comes to life with juice in the ground and this race had been the plan for some time, which was a surprise to many considering that he finished runner-up in the Group 1 Flying Five last Saturday. Once word broke that connections intended to turn him out quickly then he’s price plummeted from 33/1 into 5/1 favourite.
The son of Pivotal travelled well throughout and as everything else started stopping around him Hayes kicked for glory and shot two lengths clear. Baron Bolt went off in pursuit inside the final furlong and showed a blistering turn of foot in the conditions to join Son of Rest on the line and make it three wins in his last four stats.
In the aftermath connections of both horses were clearly delighted, Cole from his stable:
“It was a thrilling finish, they are two good horses, but I think it’s a great result for the race, a dead-heat – we’d have settled for that before.
“He was a little bit unlucky, but he’s a very nice horse and I think he deserves what he got there.”
“Son Of Rest had not done much all week at home and we were hoping and praying he was in good shape.
‘It’s a very prestigious race and I believe he is the first Irish winner. It’s great to be a small part of history.
‘He didn’t get a lead long enough and kicked clear. I thought we were beat. The other horse got past us and probably went a neck up but we were getting back at the line.”
The Silver Cup was the consolation race at Ayr and it went the way of Snazzy Jazzy for Clive Cox and Hector Crouch. The son of Red Jazz was a very smart two-year-old last season when winning all three wins including a valuable sales race at the Curragh. This season had not gone quite to plan but a sixth-place finish behind Baron Bolt at Goodwood on his previous start indicated at a revival in form and with suitable underfoot conditions he powered away from his rivals.
Al Qahwa ran a super race to finish second a week on from Irish Champions Weekend under crack apprentice Conor McGovern and had he not fluffed the start again then it could have been a very different result.
William Haggas was putting out all the negative vibes possible about Young Rascal prior to the Group 3 Legacy Cup but performances on the racecourse itself speak louder than words and Jim Crowley’s mount found most inside the final furlong to edge out the well-fancied Mirage Dancer.
The well-bred son on Intello had not been seen since finding things happening all too fast for him the Epsom Derby and with these clearly more favourable underfoot conditions, Young Rascal put in a pleasing performance and can progress throughout the remainder of the season.
A clearly surprised Haggas explained:
“This horse is a strong galloper. He looked different today, he hasn’t been like that at home and maybe it’s racing he wants. This is the first time he has been in a race where he could run on soft ground.”
John Gosden has some talented two-year-olds in his care and Kessar put his hand up as one of the more talented in the stable when easily landing the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes under Frankie Dettori. This win came on the back of another win in a Group 3 at Kempton and Gosden was clear that the next logical step albeit it a big one was to aim him at Group 1 company.
A quick reappearance could be on the agenda for Kessar with Gosden suggesting he may run his improving son of Kodiac in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket next weekend, for which he is a current 9/1 shot.
The Group 3 Trophy Stakes looked like a competitive race on paper but with the deteriorating ground conditions, meant there were four defections come post time including leading fancies El Astronaute and Sioux Nation. One horse that was always likely to appreciate soft ground was Mr Lupton and under Frenchman Gerald Mosse, he eased away from his rivals.
David Griffiths stable star Take Cover ran another admirable race by finishing runner-up and after the race, a decision was made to retire the classy eleven-year-old. In 49 starts Take Cover won fifteen times an accumulated over £700,000 in prize money. A clearly proud owner explained afterwards:
“He has done us proud. I couldn’t ask him to come back again (next season). David has done an amazing job with him, keeping him going at this age.
“He has run well today – it’s not his ground, but he just tries and tries. He comes home safe and sound that is important, too. He has got a plenty of half-brothers and sisters to go into training. He will definitely retire today. Hopefully, I can breed another one like him one day.