Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Growl Heads Betting For William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

This year’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is lining up to be one of the most exciting races of the season, while the meeting as a whole features over £680,000 in prize-money, including Class 1 contests on each of the three days.

William Hill has sponsored the Ayr Gold Cup since 2009 and with an extra £20,000 in the prize pot for the main race this year, the 2016 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup will be worth £200,000. It is one of William Hill’s key racing sponsorships, highlighted by the signing of a three year extension last year that partners the bookmaker with Scotland’s biggest Flat meeting until 2019.

Following the five-day declarations for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, the sponsor’s 6-1 favourite is Growl, trained by Richard Fahey. He has been backed all the way in from odds of 14-1.

“The dogs are barking for Growl! He was an eye-catching fourth in the Stewards’ Cup and Richard Fahey knows what it takes to win the race. He is attracting most of the early money,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

“After training Don’t Touch, who hammered the bookies last year, we’ve got another Fahey favourite in Growl who could really make us howl.”

Magnus Maximus has also been strongly backed, shortening from 33-1 to 14-1 over the past week.

“Magnus Maximus is in great form and punters who got on at 33-1 are holding hot tickets,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

William Hill Ayr Gold Cup: 6-1 Growl, 12-1 Nameitwhatyoulike, 14-1 Certificate, Magnus Maximus, Orion’s Bow, Raucous, 16-1 Brando, Hoof It, Intisaab, Kimberella, 20-1 Absolutely So, Cornwallville, Final Venture, Hillbilly Boy, Jack Dexter, Mustallib, New Bidder, Nuno Tristan, Rex Imperator, Solar Flair, Steady Pace, 25-1 Aeolus, An Saighdiur, Big Time, Flaming Spear, Get Knotted, Glen Moss, Glenrowan Rose, Johnny Barnes, Mont Kiara, Perfect Pasture, Pipers Note, Rivellino, Roudee, Son Of Africa, Tatlisu, Teruntum Star, Toofi, Watchable, Withernsea, 33-1 Ascription, Baraweez, Blaine, Dougan, Farlow, G Force, George Bowen, Hoofalong, Huntsmans Close, Kickboxer, Lat Hawil, Lexington Abbey, Lexington Times, Lulu The Zulu, Mujassam, Muntadab, Mythmaker, Ninjago, Poyle Vinnie, Quixote, Red Pike, Seeking Magic, Shared Equity, Sir Robert Cheval, Snap Shots, Sors, Steve Prescott, Zanetto, 40-1 Intibaah, Louis The Pious, Muir Lodge, Swift Approval, 50-1 Anonymous Lady, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3,4)


Generally, the trends from the turn of the century, show that on quicker ground, middle to high numbers are preferred when trying to find the winner and on slower ground, lower numbers have a better chance.

Winning Stalls From 2000 - 2015

When the ground is slower than good to soft – Winning Stalls: 7, 8, 20, 12, 8

When the ground is good to soft or quicker – Winning Stalls: 22, 16, 10, 2, 6, 22, 15, 17, 19, 19, 8

Winning Stall
Low (Stall 9 or lower): 6
Middle (Stall 10-18): 5
High (Stall 19 or higher): 5

First five finishing places (Win, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)
Low (Stall 9 or lower): 26
Middle (Stall 10-18): 25
High (Stall 19 or higher): 29


The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is increasing in quality every year:

Average Official Rating Of The Winner First Five Renewals Of This Century (2000 to 2004): 92

Average Official Rating Of The Winner Last Five Renewals (2011 to 2015): 103 (102.8)

Since the turn of the century, there has been an even spread of 4yo, 5yo and 6yo winners, but 3yo’s have only won twice and horses that are 7yo or older have not won any.

Age Of Winner (2000 to 2015)
3yo: 2 winners
4yo: 5 winners
5yo: 5 winners
6yo: 4 winners
7yo or older: No winners

In terms of the actual weight carried in the race, those in the middle of the weights have won a higher proportion of races

Actual weight carried:
9st 3lb or more: 4 winners
8st 9lb – 9st 2lb: 9 winners
8st 8lb or less: 3 winners

Further Stats

• Nine of the last 16 winners of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup have been trained by either David Nicholls or Kevin Ryan.

• Horses that don’t make the cut for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup can run in the Ayr Silver Cup or Ayr Bronze Cup

• No winner aged 7 years or older since Hard To Figure in 1993

• Last year, Don’t Touch was the first winning favourite (6-1) and shortest-priced winner since 3-1 favourite Coastal Bluff won in 1996

• The biggest priced winners since the turn of the century have returned at 33-1 (in 2000 and 2004)

• The average SP of the winner in the last 15 renewals is just under 17/1