Ayr Gold Cup: Summerghand rolls back the years to make Danny Tudhope first Scot to lift prize in over 50 years


Summerghand proved there is no substitute to experience as the eight-year-old struck in typically late fashion to scoop the Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup.

Commanche Falls looked poised to add the prestigious six-furlong handicap to the Stewards’ Cup he won in July, but he was denied in the dying strides as Scotland’s own Danny Tudhope weaved his way into contention aboard David O’Meara’s evergreen eight-year-old.

It was the second time this season the 12/1 winner has denied Commanche Falls, with Summerghand accounting for Michael Dods’ five-year-old when the pair clashed at York last month.

The first two home have run over 90 times between them over the course of their respective careers and it was the winner’s 15th victory on his 71st start.

O’Meara was picking up his second Ayr Gold Cup to add to Louis The Pious’ victory in 2014 and he told ITV Racing: “He’s been with me a long time and he’s an old legend isn’t he?

“He’s run here a good few times and hit the woodwork a fair bit. He’s an absolute legend.

“Liam Heard rides him out every day and I don’t really gallop him. Like a lot of these good sprinters, they don’t need a lot of work. He runs quite frequently and sort of looks after himself.

“He loves the game and it was a great ride by Danny, I think they were saying it’s been over 50 years since a Scottish jockey has won this race.”

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Summerghand (centre, brown cap) wins the Ayr Gold Cup for trainer David O’Meara

Royal Champion finally made his mark in Pattern company with an impressive display to land the Virgin Bet Doonside Cup Stakes at Ayr.

In touch with the leaders throughout the 10-furlong Listed event, the 9/4 second-favourite was travelling menacingly when Jack Mitchell asked the son of Shamardal to go to the front two furlongs from home. The race was soon over as a contest and he came home five and a half lengths clear of the gallant runner-up Euchen Glen.

Always held in high regard by trainer Roger Varian, the four-year-old was winning for the second time this year having also struck in handicap company at Epsom on Oaks day. Bookmakers were impressed, halving the winner to 33/1 for the Champion Stakes.

He said: “I’m so pleased because I have always loved that horse. He’s run well in better races and has always given us the feel of a good horse at home. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m looking enthusiastically to him going forward.”

Royal Champion wins the Doonside Cup at Ayr under Jack Mitchell
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Royal Champion wins the Doonside Cup at Ayr under Jack Mitchell

Varian – in tremendous form on the day, completing a 34,000/1 seven-timer across three cards – was soon in the winner’s enclosure once again when Dusky Lord took the Virgin Bet Ayr Silver Cup Handicap in clear-cut fashion to give both the handler and Mitchell a double north of the border.

The four-year-old who has threatened to land a big sprint handicap this summer, hit the front and went clear inside the final furlong to record a three-length success at 14/1.

There was a shock in the Virgin Bet Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes as Richard Fahey won the Group Three for the second time in three years with 20/1 chance Barefoot Angel.

The mount of Paul Mulrennan was a neck clear of George Boughey’s Believing, with 6/4 favourite Queen Me a further three-quarters of a length back in third.



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