It is one of the racing’s most popular meetings and certainly one that the team at Hambleton Lodge not only enjoy but have had great success at. Competitive racing with historic races and a relaxed atmosphere, the Ayr Gold Cup meeting is a fantastic 3 days. Kevin started it in perfect fashion with two lovely prospects, Chuzzlewit and Hi Royal, winning in good fashion.
Being a full brother to Group 1 winning sire, the bar is set high and before you even step out on to the track there are certain expectations. It was third times the charm as Cuzzlewit broke his maiden when stepping up top 7f and taking the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.
The son of Showcasing took a little time to come to hand which was expected with the size of his frame. He had always shown massive amounts of natural ability at home. When he made his debut there was expectation from the punters with him being back into favouritism. Inexperience cost him the win but it was a promising debut showing that a win was waiting.
Despite being a maiden, Kevin decided to run him in the Gimcrack next, which stated how highly regarded the colt was. It was another fine effort and the way he hit the line suggested a step up 7f could suit. So he would line up in the opening race at Ayr and was sent off a short priced favourite. Kevin Stott was on board the colt and would ooze confidence throughout the contest.
The early pace was steady and Cuzzlewit settled just behind the leaders, racing along the rail. He is such a laid back character that he settled fine despite the slow pace. Chasing the leaders, Kevin just allowed his mount to use his stride and find his own rhythm.
Cuzzlewit was always travelling powerfully and turning into the home straight he reminded in the wake of the leaders. The first increase of pace came around 3f out. Kevin remained confident but he was a little stuck with the horses on his outer rallying and keeping the pair locked up.
As they headed to the 2f marker Kevin just began to work a little in an attempt to find a clear run. The race now developed and for a few strides Cuzzlewit was a little outpaced. Kevin angled him out and found daylight, although the new leaders had now kicked away.
There was a decent size margin to overcome but Kevin continued to show confidence and worked away just hands and heels. Heading into the final furlong Cuzzlewit had made up ground but still needed to overcome the leader who had now taken over sole ownership. With every stride Cuzzlewit ate into the deficit and still Kevin just changed his hands and drove him along. Slowly but surely the pair were getting there but up against a tough rival the result still hung in the balance. Cuzzlewit loomed up on the outer in the dying strides but with the momentum he snatched the lead with metres left ti run. Crossing the line he took the win by a head.
It was great to get the win under his belt and Cuzzlewit will now be finished for the season. He is still quite a raw horse and will get better with time and racing. Where his trip lies only time will tell but he did take time to get going here and hit the line strong. He may be a horse to attempt a Guineas trial next year to find out just where his future lies.
The quick fire double was completed a mere 30 minutes later in the following novice race. Another fine prospect was shedding his maiden tag as Hi Royal bolted up in the 1m Phoenix Wealth Solutions EBF Novice Stakes.
Kodiac is the sire to go to for speed and precocious juveniles. You may not expect him to produce an athletic, lean, potential 10f horse but Hi Royal has always looked likely to be that sort. Being out of a Group 1 winning miler, the pedigree is there for Hi Royal and he has certainly show plenty of potential.
The Convivial Maiden at York is one of the top maidens, as you would expect with a big prize pot. It means that it is usually a very good race and produces many good horses. Making his debut in that contest, Hi Royal flew home to finish third showing great promise. Almost immediately Kevin nominated the 1m Novice at Ayr, feeling it would suit the colt.
Hi Royal was a short priced favourite but wouldn’t quite be sent off odds on, starting the contest as the even money fav. The race looked to be between the first three in the market with nothing else in single figure prices. Kevin Stott looked to be positive from stall seven, looking to hopefully get a nice position with a quick start. Hi Royal was away well and this allowed him to track over towards that rail, latching on to the leader’s girths. Able to use his long stride, Hi Royal sat second and got into a nice rhythm form the off.
There was very little danger throughout the whole contest as Hi Royal galloped powerfully. He handled the left handed bend which maintained his position chasing the leader. Once they straightened up for home the leader looked to stretch the field and increased the pace. As the leader did this, Hi Royal covered his move with ease, moving upsides with Kevin motionless. The writing was on the wall for the leader a long way from home and heading towards the 2f marker, Hi Royal took the lead and this was the last rival he would see.
As Hi Royal took control of the race he pulled through his two market rivals. They were hot on his heels but as they came under pressure, Hi Royal remained hard on the bridle. Holding around a length advantage, Kevin decided to ask his mount to go and win the race. Kicking away over 1 1/2f from home, the race was done and Hi Royal lengthened. Nobody could match the colt’s power and it was game over. Kevin was educating his mount all the time, asking him to continue stretching. Hi Royal utilised his stride to move further and further clear, breaking his rivals spirits. The winning margin could have been anything but it would officially be 2 1/2 lengths once he galloped past the line.
This race did seem a very good opportunity and Hi Royal capitalised in great fashion. Travelling well throughout he managed to quicken up with ease and Kevin Stott felt that he didn’t even get out of third gear. He looks like a colt with a massive future and could well get further next year. This will be his final start of the year and will have a break now to give him time to mature. Hi Royal does look like a really bright prospect and he could be another to take on a classic trial in 2023 to see just where he could get to.