The origins of horse racing in Ayr date back as far as the 16th century. However, the first documented meeting did not take place until 1777. In 1804, the Ayr Gold Cup was run for the first time. At the Racecourse Road course. In the first two years of its inception it was won by the same horse, Chancellor. The Racecourse Road track was used for over a hundred years before moving to the present site at Whitletts Road in 1907. Not until 1950 was a jump course introduced, and as a result when the racecourse at Boghall closed, the Scottish Grand National was transferred to Ayr. Following the sale of the course in 2003, a huge £35 million development of the course took place which improved facilities for race goers, and Ayr is now generally acknowledged as the premier racecourse in Scotland. The present racecourse is a wide one mile four furlong long track. It is left hander, and has only minor undulations, which together with a two hundred and ten yard run in, make it one of the fastest courses in Britain.
The two major horse racing events in Scotland are both run at the Ayr Racecourse, the Scottish Grand national and the Ayr Gold Cup Festival. Originally run at Boghall in 1867, the present Grand National is run over a slightly longer course at four miles and a hundred and ten yards, and the event is open to horses over five years of age. With £200,000 in prize money available, the Ayr Grand national is Scotland`s richest jump race. The two day event attracts prize money of over a million pounds. Approximately twenty thousand people attend the event, and over a million people watched the event live on TV.
The Gld Cup festival at Ayr is open to thoroughbred horse of three years and older. It is a much shorter race than the original race which first took place in 1804. The present day race is six furlongs. The top twenty eight heaviest horses take part in the Gold Cup, whilst the lightest twenty eight take part in the Ayr Silver Cup, the day before the main race.
Ayr Racecourse hosts twenty seven fixtures throughout the racing calendar; and has no less than ten festival days, including the Saints and Sinners Racenight in June, through to the Christmas Party race day in December.
Some of the top names in racing have been successful at the Ayr Gold Cup. Top trainers such as Peter Easterby, Ian Balding, and David Nicholls have produced winners of the Ayr Gold Cup. David Nicholls in particular has enjoyed spectacular success with no fewer than four wins since the year 2000. Some of the top name jockeys have also had success at the Ayr Gold Cup in the shape of Brett Doyle, John Egan, Keiron Fallon and Seb Sanders. Famous racing names also loom large in the history of the Scottish Grand National. Jockeys Barry Brogan, Paul Kelleway, Peter Scudamore, Adrian Maguire and ruby Walsh have all won at Ayr. Legendary names such as Gordon Richards, Ken Oliver, Ginger McCain, Neville Crump, Jenny Pitman and Ferdy Murphy have all been responsible for training winners of the Scottish Grand National. If you would like more up to date information about the Sport of Kings head over to horse betting tips