Ger Lyons' bid to augment a tremendous season with victory in the £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup proved in vain as Buffer Zone never looked like justifying favouritism.
Lyons secured his first Group 1 triumph on native soil when Siskin scored in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last month and also won the first £1m Ebor at York with Mustajeer.
Buffer Zone travelled to Scotland on the back of a convincing win at the Curragh last Sunday and was attempting to make it a second consecutive victory for Irish-trained horses after Son Of Rest dead-heated with Baron Bolt for Fozzy Stack, a winner at Ayr again on Friday with Piece Of Paradise.
The Glenburnie representative couldn’t land a blow however and there could be no excuses in relation to the draw, as though Buffer Zone was part of a group of just six on the stand-side, there was plenty of pace and the winner, Angel Alexander, was also in that sexted.
Richard Kingscote delivered the Tom Dascombe-trained three-year-old late to deny Growl, who had to settle for runner-up for the second time.
Buffer Zone may have been feeling the effects of what looked a straightforward
win six days previously, and perhaps the six-pound penalty that came with it, as Gulliver, one of his victims in Ireland last week, was able to finish third in Ayr.
Elsewhere cross-channel, the Darren Bunyan-trained Hit The Bid finished third in the Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes, won by Maid In India, with the Lyons-trained Blue Uluru back in seventh.
Meanwhile, racing at Gowran Park, which was due to get under way at 1.35pm, was abandoned with the runners down at the start for the opener due to lightning.
Stewards initially opted to adopt a wait-and-see polity and when the weather relented it looked like the decision might pay off.
The respite was only temporary, however, and racing was called off at 2pm.
“We just don’t take chances with life and limb,” said clerk of the course, Paddy Graffin.
“There was a safety issue with lightning, and the whole thing was to do with lightning.
“It looked like it was set to clear so that’s why we sent them out for the first. We consulted with the riders and they all appeared happy we were going to proceed without stalls. There was a consideration for that but there was so much (lightning).
“We considered Gowran Park has a beautiful parade ring with all the things you shouldn’t have for lightning — trees.
The lads leading the horses, there is concern for them as well.
“As a horse man I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.”
Sunday Indo Sport