2017 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Meeting Betting: Tips and Odds

2017 Ayr Gold Cup

The Ayr Gold Cup festival is the biggest flat racing event in Scotland and takes place over three days from 21-23 September this year at Ayr Racecourse.

Obviously, the Gold Cup on Saturday is the main race, but there are several Listed events including the Doonside Cup, Harry Rosebery Stakes, and the Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes. There is also the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes and a Silver Cup for horses that don’t make it into the ultra-competitive Gold Cup line-up.

In this preview, we will focus on the Firth of Clyde Stakes, Doonside Cup, and Gold Cup. We will be looking at likely contenders, listing previous winners, identifying betting trends and listing Ayre Gold Cup odds as provided by the best racing bookmakers.

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Doonside Cup

Thursday, 21 September

This is a Listed event for 3yo+ horses and takes place over a distance of 1m 2f. It is the most lucrative race on day one with a prize fund of £65,000. As a result, it often features former Group 1 and Group 2 winners; although they carry a 10-pound penalty.

Previous Winners

2012Opera Gal8/13
2014Sennockian Star100/30
2016Secret Number6/1

Betting Trends and Information

At the time of writing, there are 6 entries with Forest Ranger installed as the 5/2 favorite followed by Frankuss at 7/2, Big Country at 9/2, Born To Be Alive at 9/2 and the rest of the field at longer odds.

  • 18/20 winners were 6/1 or less.
  • 15/20 winners were the first or second favorite in the market. 8 favorites have won the race in the last 20 years.
  • 15/20 winners had an OR of 108+.

If we go by the trends, the race is between Forest Ranger and Frankuss. However, 5 of the 6 horses are at 5/1 or less with most bookies so the top two in the betting market could, and probably will change by race time. Although Frankuus has the highest OR at 112, Forest Ranger has an OR of 110 and is carrying 5 pounds less. However, the Johnston/Fanning combination on Frankuus might be enough to overcome that slim advantage.

Firth of Clyde Stakes

Saturday, 23 September

This is a Group 3 flat race for 2yo+ fillies that takes place over 6 furlongs. It was a Listed race until 2004 when it attained Group 3 status. The Firth of Clyde Stakes is currently the only Group race in Scotland. It serves as a wonderful appetiser for the main event and has a prize fund of £65,000.

Previous Winners

2012Melody of Love7/2
2013Coral Mist11/2
2014Dark Reckoning25/1

Betting Trends and Information

The list of entries has yet to be finalised but there tend to be 10-15 runners in the race. At this early stage, Mamba Noire is the 6/1 favorite, followed by Special Purpose at 6/1 and Dance Diva & One Minute at 8/1. The rest of the field is 12/1 bar.

  • 10/20 winners had an SP of 17/2+.
  • Only 4/20 favorites have won the Firth of Clyde Stakes.
  • 18/20 winners had their last run 8-30 days before the race.

Ayr Gold Cup

Saturday, 23 September

The big race of the festival, the 2017 Ayr Gold Cup, is run over 6 furlongs and is open to all horses aged 3yo+. It is one of the most lucrative handicap races in Britain with a prize fund of £200,000; the winner takes home over £124,000.

The event was first run in 1804 and was initially only open to horses bred in Scotland. Originally, the event consisted of two heats of two miles before a single race, also over two miles, was run to determine the overall winner. The Gold Cup was shortened to a mile in 1870 after becoming a handicap race some 15 years earlier.

The race was moved from Belleisle racecourse to Ayr in 1908, and the event was cut to 6 furlongs in the same year. Today, there are still so many entries that organisers must choose the top-weighted horses for the race. The maximum field is 27 runners and horses that don’t make the final cut can run in the Silver Cup which was established in 1992. Any horses that don’t make the Silver Cup race can compete in the Bronze Cup which was first run in 2009.

Previous Winners

2012Captain Ramius16/1
2013Highland Colori20/1
2014Louis the Pious10/1
2015Don’t Touch6/1

Betting Trends and Information

Given the enormous number of potential entries, it is difficult to tell which horses will be in the Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups at the time of writing. The maximum field is 27 runners and the smallest field in the last 20 years was 23 runners. At present, Shanghai Glory is the 10/1 favorite, followed by many others at odds of 11/1 or longer.

  • 19/20 winners had an SP of 10/1+.
  • Only 1 favorite has won in the last 20 years. 5/20 winners were in the top three in the betting market.
  • 19/20 winners had their last run 8-60 days before the Ayr Gold Cup.
  • 19/20 winners had at least 4 season runs.

Although it is early days and not every horse we mention will compete, it is important to note that only two favorites have won since 1980 which doesn’t look good for Shanghai Glory. Johnny Barnes had a good win over 7 furlongs at Goodwood this season and is worth a look at 14/1.

Ekhtiyaar is another interesting selection at 16/1. The Roger Varian trained horse looked good when winning at Newmarket earlier this year and has the class to make a real impression. Aeolus performed poorly in the City of York Stakes, but he is on a low enough mark to warrant consideration at 25/1.

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