It usually pays to follow anyone with a specialist subject and as far as the training of sprinters is concerned there is only one mastermind. Yesterday Dandy Nicholls won one of the season's most competitive handicaps, the Ayr Gold Cup, for the sixth time in 11 years as 14-1 shot Redford powered from last to first. And for good measure he took any bonus points going by also saddling the runner-up Victoire De Lyphar.
The winner was ridden by Frankie Dettori, himself successful in the six-furlong dash for the second successive year. The Italian was fortunate to be on board; there was no problem with his flying dismount, just his flying. He missed his scheduled Ryanair flight from Stansted to Scotland because he had brought the wrong identification, but managed to get a seat on a later one.
There were parallels with his passage through the race. Redford was always going conspicuously easily behind the front rank but had to wait for daylight to appear. When it did, he burst past Victoire De Lyphar with a will inside the final furlong to take the £93,465 spoils by two and a quarter lengths, an almost insulting margin.
"He has to be held up and come late," said Dettori of the five-year-old, "so I wasn't too worried about having nowhere to go two out. And thank goodness I got here in time in the end."
As usual, the massed ranks split into two groups. High-drawn Redford and Victoire De Lyphar, and fifth-placed 13-2 favourite Jonny Mudball, raced in the smaller pack on the stands' side of the course, the third and fourth home Hitchens and Genki on the far side.
Redford, who is owned by the Liverpool businessman Marwan Koukash, followed Bahamian Pirate, Continent, Regal Parade and Funfair Wane (twice) in taking Scotland's richest prize back to Tall Trees Stables near Thirsk. The first three-named went on to subsequent Group One glory and Nicholls has hopes that Redford can emulate them. It was the first success for the gelding for more than two years and the first since he joined Nicholls' string as a cast-off from Michael Bell's yard a year ago. He would not, though, be the first whose attitude and ability have been maximised by such a transfer.
"He's a horse with a huge amount of talent," said Nicholls, "and everything went perfect for him today. There's another decent race for him at Ascot on Saturday but I shouldn't think he'll be running in many handicaps after that."
Nicholls' stable narrowly missed a notable treble; Sonny Red beat all bar Colonel Mak in the Silver Cup and Courageous had lost out by just a head in the Bronze Cup on Friday.
The focus at Newbury was on the youngest generation of speedy types in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes, taken by Temple Meads. Already the winner of the Super Sprint at the Berkshire track this season, Temple Meads lost his unbeaten record in the Gimcrack but, settling better than at York, made short work of his rivals yesterday and will step up a level to the Middle Park Stakes next time.Reuse content