Ayr Course Guide

The most westerly course in Great Britain, Ayr stages racing all year round but has two very clear highlights. On the flat it is the three-day Western meeting in the second half of September, where the big race is the six-furlong Ayr Gold Cup, one of the most historic sprint handicaps in Europe and one that has been won by top sprinters Roman Warrior, Lochsong and Coastal Bluff.

Over jumps the feature meeting is the two-day Scottish Grand National fixture in mid-April. Generally run a week after Aintree in recent years, only Red Rum has competed the Aintree-Ayr double in the same season though Little Polvier and Earth Summit are others to have won both races in separate seasons.


Left handed, galloping. The round course is about twelve furlongs long with a run-in of half a mile. The turn approaching the straight is slightly downhill, and it's possible for those prominent to gain an advantage once in line for home. The straight course is particularly wide, allowing for sprints with a maximum field size of 28, making it rare for the runners to stay in one group in such events. A course whose character changes dramatically on account of the going; it's one of the most gruelling in the country on heavy ground.

Ayr is a good galloping track and rides smooth enough into the longish straight, but the ground tends to run away from you at some points, so ideally you need a handy type. You have to have a horse that keeps galloping under you, though, because, even if you’ve bossed the first quarter of a race, you’ll struggle to get home on a doubtful stayer. And you don’t want to be too wide on the home turn. It’s OK going into it a couple of horse-widths out, but in lanes three and four it’s a very long way round.

View from the saddle: Jason Weaver

Left-handed circuit of one and a half miles comprising nine fences, with well-graduated turns. There is a steady downhill run to the home turn and a gentle rise to the finish. There is a run-in of 210 yards. When the going is firm the course is sharp, but conditions regularly get extremely gruelling, making for a thorough test.

Underfoot conditions at Ayr are very important in deciding how you need to ride a race. When it’s very soft, on both the chase and hurdle tracks, you can afford to wait, because the field almost always comes back to you. When it’s quick, on the other hand, you can easily find yourself in trouble if others have got away from you and you’re left with a lot of ground to make up. It’s a fair test, with no bogey fences, but, ideally, you need a horse with both a little bit of toe and a fair amount of stamina.

View from the saddle: Mick Fitzgerald
Advance Going
Good to soft
Current Weather
Mostly Cloudy

Forecast: Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 1.8° - 5.5°
Rainfall: none
Wind: 6.1 mph E

Last Update: 18/01/2019 17:00x

Upcoming races
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  • Jockey: B S Hughes Trainer: N G Richards
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Address & Contact

Ayr Racecourse
2-6 Whitletts
01292 264179

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