Ayr is a large and historical town on the west coast of Scotland. There is evidence of settlements here going back 5000 years. During the 16th century, Ayr had become a busy sea port. During 17th century it was a base and home to some of Oliver Cromwell’s men. They built a fortress along the mouth of the river any many of those walls still exist today. Also during the 17th century, deposits of coal were found near Newton and the town then also became a centre for mining. For all that, in the early 18th century, Ayr was felt to be a town in decline though the importance of its port continued.
Today, Ayr is a popular seaside resort and a retail centre. I am told the beach is just amazing. The merest look online assures me that there are loads of good accommodation, bars and eateries throughout the town.
There is plenty worth seeing in Ayr and here are a few:
Ayr Racecourse hosts both National Hunt Racing and Flat Racing, both on turf.
Flat: Ayr Racecourse is a left-handed, oval, wide and galloping track of about 12 furlongs, with a home straight of 4 furlongs. There is a straight 6f for sprint races. There are slight undulations around the course and the course is known to be particularly gruelling in testing ground.
The stalls at Ayr are normally position on the stands side for sprints and when this is the case, there is a bias towards high drawn. On occasions when the stalls are positioned on the far side, no bias appears to exist. There doesn’t appear to be any particular bias in races of 7f and above.
Jumps: The jumps track is left-handed and galloping with slight undulations. The circuit is 12 furlongs on which there are 9 fences to jump and a run in from the last of just under a furlong.
The main meeting at Ayr during the flat season is the Ayr Gold Cup meeting in September. The course also stages the Scottish National in the spring.
Clerk of the course: Graham Anderson
Course telephone number: 01292 264179
Ayr is just under 420 miles from Central London, 295 miles from Birmingham, 377 miles from Bristol, 398 miles from Cardiff, 220 miles from Manchester, 158 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne and 84 miles from Edinburgh.
The course itself is located east of the City on A758 Mauchline road.
The course post code is KA8 OJE.
Course parking is free.
The nearest railway station is Ayr Station, about half a mile away.
There is a club and a grandstand enclosure at Ayr Racecourse, the dress code for which isn’t strict though the course discourage sports shirts and ripped jeans. Smart casual will do the trick if in doubt.
The view from the stands is excellent and everything can be seen if using binoculars.
There was a nice village set up around the parade ring with a variety of marquess for various hospitalities and food.
I was hugely taken by seeing bookmakers setting up pitches inside the main hall under the grandstand. It’s brilliant and not something I had seen before. The hall itself was smashing. There were plenty of bars and food outlets and lots of table space too. I can imagine it would get very crowded in here on a rainy day but today it was lovely and comfortable.
Today was one of the highlights of my entire tour of racecourses. I met up again with my pal Graham, his Dad and a couple of their mates. It was a day long planned and in no way disappointed. I had an absolutely wonderful day and in the very best of company and I’m so grateful. I very much hope it happens again.
From a betting perspective, it was less good but there you go, such days happen.
I took an interest in just two races.
The first race was a 2yo Novice Stakes over a mile. My interest was in 11/10F Dark Jedi trained by Charles Hills and ridden by Harry Bentley. He had won his first race at Ffos Las before finishing 2nd is a better race at Salisbury without ever really challenging the winner. There were bits and pieces of form among one or two of the other but Dark Jedi was a confident bet for me to get proceedings underway. He travelled well enough in the race and weaved his passage through from the rear to have every chance inside the final furlong but in the end failed by half a length to the Andrew Balding trained Lariat.
My only other interest today came in the Listed Race over 10 furlongs and was the Andrew Balding trained Morando. He came into the race on the back of a 2 length beating in 5th behind Mustashry in a Listed race at Sandown Park. That rival had gone on to narrowly fail to win a Group 3 race at the York Ebor meeting and had then won a Group 2 race at Doncaster. His main market and form rival was Dubai Horizon though his form, in my view wasn’t on the same level as that of Morando. I was happy to discount the rest of the field for a variety of reasons. As the race unfolded, it became a battle between Dolphin Vista, who led for most of the race and Morando inside the final furlong with Dolphin Vista prevailing by a diminishing half a length. Fortunately I had a significant interest in the Betfair four to be placed market at a very generous 1.41 which took care of my win bet and a bit more.
I really liked Ayr Racecourse as I did all the courses in Scotland. I think maybe next year, I will try and find a period when all five are racing reasonably close together and holiday up here. A beautiful country, beautiful people and lovely racecourses, I’m not sure how much more I could want.
A week at home now and then hopefully Epsom on 30th September if they’ve overcome the Chafer Grubs!!