Bielsa scores for Leeds United fans in Ayr Gold Cup

A BRAVE ride from Kevin Stott enabled Bielsa to secure big-race honours in the Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup.

Thirsk jockey Kevin Stott celebrates the Ayr Gold Cup win of Bielsa.
Thirsk jockey Kevin Stott celebrates the Ayr Gold Cup win of Bielsa.

The win provided some compensation for Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa whose side remain winless in the Premier League this season following Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United.

With the results of Friday’s Bronze Cup and the Silver Cup earlier on Saturday’s card suggesting a low draw was favourable over the sprint distance of six furlongs at Ayr, it looked like Bielsa would have his work cut out drawn highest of all in stall 25.

As the stalls opened, the majority of the field split into two groups, with several horses racing on the far side of the track and another batch going down the middle.

Kevin Stott lets out a scream as he wins the Ayr Gold Cup on Bielsa.

The Kevin Ryan-trained Bielsa (15-2), however, ploughed a lone furrow against the stands’ side rail, which ultimately proved a masterstroke by Stott who, ironically, had schoolboy trials with Tottenham Hotspur and is a lifeling Manchester United fan.

Great Ambassador, the 3-1 favourite, careered clear of his rivals on the far side inside the final furlong, but Bielsa galloped straight and true and was two and a quarter lengths clear passing the post.

In another footballing twist, Bielsa is actually owned by King Power Racing who are, of course, synonymous with Leiecester City.

Hambleton-based Ryan, winning the Ayr Gold Cup for a fifth time, told ITV Racing: “I spoke to Alistair Donald (racing manager for winning owners King Power Racing) this morning and said ‘we’re on the rail, it’s fresh ground, and he likes to go that way anyway’.

“It’s great to train a winner like this for King Power. They’ve been very patient with this horse and I’m chuffed really.

“He’s a very talented horse. It just hasn’t happened this year. Things go wrong and you get little niggles, but that’s what gets you an Ayr Gold Cup - they generally get there fresh and well.”

Thuis was a fifth win for Bielsa and he can expect to go up in grade according to Ryan who is a master at training top-class sprinters.

“We’ve won four Ayr Gold Cups and you wonder if you’re going to win another one,” he added.

“They were all Group horses and this horse is a Group horse.”