Growl is favourite for Ayr Gold Cup

THE 2016 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival which starts on Thursday is far and away the richest ever flat meeting staged in Scotland with a whopping £680,000 in prize-money.

And the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday with £200,000 in the pot looks set to be the classiest renewal of the race with 25 quality runners going to post.

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.

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.

For the first time ever there will be a Class 1 race on each of the three days in the shape of the William Hill Doonside Cup, a Listed Race on Thursday, the Shadwell Stud/EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes, a Listed Race on Friday and the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes on Saturday.

The draw for the Gold Cup takes place on Thursday morning at Ayr and will be conducted by former Old Firm stars Arthur Numan and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink along with newly crowned Miss Scotland Lucy Kerr.

Entries for the Doonside Cup are headed by the Andrew Balding trained eight year-old Tullius and John Gosden’s GM Hopkins with the bang in-form Keith Dalgleish yard sending Maleficent Queen who won a Listed race at Ayr earlier in the season.

There are likely to be eight races each day with huge fields and some of the jockeys in action over the three days include Frankie Dettori, championship seeking Jim Crowley, Oisin Murphy, George Baker and Paul Hanagan.

Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup Day is heading towards a sell out for the second year in succession.