Smullen's Ayr raid turns to Gold for Ryan
Captain Ramius gave trainer Kevin Ryan back-to-back victories with a clear-cut triumph in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup yesterday.
While last year's winner Our Jonathan failed to make an impact, it was 16/1 shot Captain Ramius, ridden by Pat Smullen, which landed the spoils.
Sholaan took the field along until a furlong out, where Captain Ramius was produced to storm into the lead. He soon put the race to bed to win by two-and-a-half lengths from 2008 hero Regal Parade (25/1), with 8/1 favourite Maarek a further length-and-a-quarter away in third. Sholaan (16/1) was fourth.
"He's a tough horse. It's great for the owners, they've let me do what I want with him," said Ryan, who also won this race with Advanced in 2007. "And I'm delighted for Pat, who's come over from Ireland to ride him. We start thinking about this race in January. When it comes off it's great. This is the richest sprint handicap in Europe and it's great to win it again."
Smullen added: "I just wanted to get a good position from a bad draw. He's a very straightforward horse and trained by a very good trainer. The McStays (owners) are Irish people and were kind to ask me to ride him. Kevin has always been a good supporter of mine when he sends horses to Ireland, so we have that connection."
Elsewhere, Moohaajim produced a high-class performance to take the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. The Marco Botti-trained youngster was fifth on just his second start in the Prix Morny behind Reckless Abandon, when not enjoying the best of runs, and was sent off the 5/2 favourite.
Master Of War soon grabbed the rail for Richard Hughes and it looked very likely that Adam Kirby would have to sit and suffer on the strong-travelling market leader. But Kirby managed to find a gap and the response when he asked the Cape Cross colt to quicken was immediate.
At home, Drive Time bounced back to form to take the feature race on the final day of the Listowel festival, the MJ Carroll ARRO Handicap Hurdle.
Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, the seven-year-old son of King Cugat was sent off the 5/4 favourite carrying top weight of 11-10. Galway Plate hero Bob Lingo (3/1) adopted front-running tactics under Mark Walsh but was joined by the winner as they entered the straight. Drive Time, which raced in second throughout, kicked on from there and despite making a slight mistake at the last, he stayed on well to score by three-and-three-parts of a length.
"He looks a real stayer and Ruby said he would jump a fence," said Mullins. "Today was the first time we really thought that and I will have to have a word with Mr Wylie (winning owner Graham Wylie) now." Mullins and Walsh later made it a double on the card when Twinlight (8/15f) won the beginners' chase.
Fair Dilemma recorded his second success of the week at Listowel as he took the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle under Harley Dunne for trainer Jimmy Mangan.
The son of Dr Massini won a novice chase over the course on Sunday and back over the smaller obstacles yesterday he duly followed up. Paddy Power put a 9/4 to him overnight but that price was quickly snapped up and he was returned the 5/4 favourite.
And there was further success for trainer Mick Winters when Missunited (11/8f) made it four wins on the spin in the Listowel Races Supporters' Club Slán Abhaile Race with Niall Kelly in the saddle.
Sunday Indo Sport