Captain reaches Gold standard at Ayr
Saturday 22 September 2012
1 Captain Ramius (P J Smullen) 16-1
2 Regal Parade (D Swift) 25-1
3 Maarek (M Enright) 8-1 Fav
4 Sholaan (K Harrison) 16-1
By Geoffrey Riddle
Kevin Ryan saddled his third Ayr Gold Cup winner when Captain Ramius turned Europe’s most valuable sprint handicap into a procession on Saturday.
Kelly Harrison took the field along on the three-year-old Sholaan on the far side but in the final furlong Pat Smullen took the lead on Captain Ramius and went on to take the £74,700 prize-money with a two-and-a-half length victory. Regal Parade, who won the Ayr Gold Cup in 2008, was second, while the classy Maarek was third.
Captain Ramius was one of four runners for Ryan, who also saddled Our Jonathan, last year’s winner who was 12th, while Louis The Pious was ninth and Pintura was tenth.
"I'm delighted. We had four good horses going into the race,” Ryan said.
"The ground is very testing out there. It's very tacky and even soft-ground horses don't go through it.
"He's a tough horse. It's great for the owners, they've let me do what I want with him. And I'm delighted for Pat, who's come over from Ireland to ride him.”
Ryan also won the Ayr Gold Cup with Advanced in 2007 and he revealed the scale of planning it takes to land one of Europe’s most competitive sprint handicaps
"After the Bunbury Cup I said to Clodagh (McStay, owner) I was going to train him for the Ayr Gold Cup," he added.
"We start thinking about this race in January. When it comes off it's great.”
For Smullen it was his first visit to the Scottish track and the win cemented a long-standing relationship with Ryan. The Irish jockey has ridden four winners from 23 rides for the Yorkshire trainer in Ireland during the past five seasons and he was delighted to hand Ryan another win in Ayr’s feature race.
"Kevin has always been a good supporter of mine when he sends horses to Ireland, so we have that connection.
"It's great to win a big race like this.
"The McStays are Irish people and were kind to ask me to ride him.”