Where to Watch Horse Racing this Weekend: A Look at the Main Events
September 15, 2016
While every weekend seems to bring a bumper selection of races with it as the culmination of the flat racing season approaches, the period between Thursday 15th and Saturday 17th September promises to be particularly thrilling.
These are the dates of the prestigious William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival, which is home to the most lucrative selection of races anywhere in the UK. Renowned as Scotland’s richest flat race meeting, we will see £680,000 awarded in prize money across just three days and 22 stunning races.
The Ayr Gold Cup and Other Weekend Race Meetings
If you are considering attending the festive, Saturday is likely to be the most exciting time to visit as it will host the coveted Ayr Gold Cup Handicap race. A total of 215 sprinters stood their ground for this event, but just 25 will compete for the £200,000 first prize. A class 2 event open to three-year old competitors; the Richard Fahey-trained Growl has emerged as the early ante-post favourite although the field is likely to be extremely competitive.
Fahey is also in contention to be the UK’s leading flat trainer this season, so he will be keen to record a good showing with his favourite.
Outside of Ayr and further south in the UK, Newbury is also set to host two stellar days of racing on the 16th and the 17th of September. These are the dates of the relatively new but popular Dubai Duty Free International event, which will host 14 races across both days including the increasingly well-received Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Handicap Stakes. With 34 runners, this is one of the most keenly-contested races in the UK, while leading flat trainer Mark Johnston is set to make three entries alone.
Although there is no obvious favourite at present, the early Newbury Races odds have the talented but notoriously fragile Glorious Protector as a formative front-runner. Trainer Ed Walker earmarked this race last month as the ideal opportunity for his horse to return to the fold, and if he races to his potential he will have a great chance of winning.
Wherever you watch racing this weekend, the four days between the 15th and 18th of September are likely to be some of the most watched in the annual calendar.
Ed Walker is targeting next month’s Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at Newbury as a potential starting point for the talented but fragile Glorious Protector.