Classic Renewals: Ayr Gold Cup

Son Of Rest and Baron Bolt were involved in a famous Ayr Gold Cup dead heat in 2018
Son Of Rest and Baron Bolt were involved in a famous Ayr Gold Cup dead heat in 2018

We jump back to 12 months ago to look back on a classic recent renewal of the Ayr Gold Cup, which saw the first dead heat of the race's prestigious 215-year history…

The Ayr Gold Cup perhaps isn't the sexiest of races in the Flat racing calendar, but nevertheless it is a race with a long and proud history which rarely disappoints.

Well known for being a hugely competitive race on and off the track, it nearly always seems to attract a number of exciting animals as some of the best trainers in the business head north of the border for the biggest flat race of the year at Ayr races.

There have been some top-class winners of the race down the years with horses like Lochsong (1992), Coastal Bluff (1996), Bahamian Pirate (2000) and Continent  (2001) just four of the better horses to have appeared on the roll of honour over the past 30 years.

Punters don't have to look back too far though when it comes to the most memorable edition of the famous race, though, and the 2018 event a contest that will live long in the memory. 

Son Of Rest was all the rage in the markets in the 48 hours leading up to the race, having been declared to run despite having finished second in a Group 1 contest at the Curragh the weekend before. His handicap mark looked a particularly attractive one on the back of such strong form, and the Irish raider was smashed in by punters - starting as the 5/1 favourite for the contest, for which there was a full field of 25 runners.

The heavy ground meant that the vast majority of the field failed to land a blow, and as the field entered the final furlong it looked as though the script was being carried out word for word, as Son Of Rest hit the front and looked to have the race at his mercy for the punters.

Ultimately though, the horse got to the front a tad earlier than ideal and that left the door open for the fast-finishing Baron Bolt to dispute the lead as the two horses crossed the line. The heavy ground clearly suited the 28/1 shot, who made up plenty of late ground, and as the pair of them reached the winning post it looked difficult to split them - and that proved to be the case, as the judge announced a rarely-seen dead heat for the 2018 Ayr Gold Cup.

Son Of Rest may have had to share the spoils, but he created history in doing so; becoming the first Irish-trained winner of the Ayr Gold Cup for Fozzy Stack, and producing the first ever dead heat in the race's 215-year history to boot. It was a thrilling race for the sport as a spectacle and will live long in the memory as one of the highlights of the entire season and it will be fascinating to watch the 2019 edition this weekend to see if that drama can be matched.

Read our 2019 Ayr Gold Cup preview
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