Son Of Rest and Baron Bolt dead-heated in a thrilling finish to the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.
Fozzy Stack’s Son Of Rest (5-1 favourite) had been ante-post favourite all week after finishing second in Group One company only last weekend.
The handicapper had him 10lb ‘well-in’ and when he shot clear under Chris Hayes a furlong out, the gamble looked to have been landed.
However, Paul Cole’s Baron Bolt (28-1) burst out of the pack in the hands of Cam Noble and chased down the Irish raider, with the pair crossing the line together, well clear of the rest.
There was an agonising wait for punters and connections of both horses, but after around five minutes a dead-heat was announced.
Cole told Press Association Sport from his Whatcombe base: “It was a thrilling finish, they are two good horses, but I think it’s a great result for the race, a dead-heat – we’d have settled for that before.
“He was a little bit unlucky, but he’s a very nice horse and I think he deserves what he got there.
“I’ve been watching the racing there and while they are saying it’s heavy, they have been finishing well and there’d been no rain of note for 24 hours.
“It (ground) was a bit of a worry, but he finished his race off well. I think he goes on anything bar really bottomless ground.
“He’d run over seven furlongs early in his career, but I think that was just me running him over the wrong trip. He’s definitely a six-furlong horse and he’s definitely getting better.”
He added: “I haven’t thought about anything after this, but it’s fantastic to win it, as it’s been a quiet season, so it’s good for the yard.
“As we picked up a penalty for his last win, we were looking for a good claimer to take 5lb off and Cameron was recommended to us.”
Noble admitted: “I’d rather share it than get second. I’m delighted, it’s my first ride for Mr Cole and I can’t thank him enough. I’m based with Mr (Michael) Bell in Newmarket and things are going great for me at the moment.”
Stack said of the first Irish-trained winner of the race: “I thought he’d got back up, but I said to Brian Parker (owner) coming off the stand that I’d settle for a dead-heat.
“We’re thrilled, we’re over the moon and to be the first Irish winner makes it more special.
“It just shows how hard it is, but these guys up here think of nothing else but this race.
“Just maybe – we’ll see how he is and I’ll chat to Brian – but if the ground is in our favour we may just supplement him for Ascot (British Champions Sprint) if the ground was in his favour.”
Hayes, who was fourth aboard G Force in 2016, said: “I knew I was in front too soon, but in fairness to him he kept going and got me out of trouble. I thought I was beat, so it’s a bit of a result.”