Mike Vince looks ahead to Saturday's Ayr Gold Cup with a trip down memory lane including a nod to Lochsong's 10/1 victory in the great Scottish handicap.
There are big sprint handicaps - the Wokingham, the Stewards' Cup - and then there’s the unique challenge of the Ayr Gold Cup, with Silver and Bronze thrown in for good measure.
Scotland’s big Flat race dates back to the start of the 19th century, the first two years ending in victory for Chancellor, and a trainer named Tom Dawson saddled the winner no less than 15 times, but don’t go looking for his entries this weekend. The last was in 1869.
So many stories light up the modern era. The six wins of Dandy Nicholls including three in a row, Kevin Keegan winning it as the owner of Funfair Wane and a four-year-old called Lochsong winning at an amazing 10/1 to complete an unprecedented Stewards' Cup, Portland Handicap and Ayr Gold Cup – hands up all those who remember without looking who rode him that day?
The answer - Francis Arrowsmith.
It’s also thrown up some extraordinary ‘others’. No more so when in 1984 the winner Able Albert scraped paint on the stands' side for a decisive win, only for the judge to miss him and call a photograph for what he thought was first place. It was actually for second.
And just like the Ebor’s legendary Sea Pigeon moment, Ayr erupted when in 1975 Roman Warrior humped 10 stone to victory, a record to this day, and the last time the famous cavalry charge stayed North of Hadrians Wall.
Many of us as youngsters enjoyed the game Totopoly and remember that great horse Marmaduke Jinks. The real version won the race in the 1930s.
And let us not forget Ireland’s awful record, which won’t be improved this year. It’s never been won by the boys in green outright, but two years ago we got the one thing the race had been missing - a first dead-heat.
It was an Anglo-Irish affair as the favourite, Fozzy Stack’s raider Son Of Rest looked set to bury the hoodoo, only to be caught on the line by Cameron Noble on Baron Bolt, trained by Paul Cole.
Chris Hayes, one of Ireland’s most articulate, rode Son Of Rest. He went for home a furlong out even though the horse needed to be produced late, and he delivered a memorable post race quote: "I was a flared nostril away from my P45."
It'll be fast, furious and hugely competitive. It always is.
Anyone know the winner?