Highland Colori Lands Ayr Gold Cup Prize
1 Highland Colori 20/1
Highland Colori turned what looked a competitive William Hill Ayr Gold Cup into a rout, running out a convincing winner for the rising star of the weighing room Oisin Murphy.
Earlier this week Murphy's boss Andrew Balding, who trained the 20-1 winner, stated the young rider would not be riding in races worth less than £6,000 in an attempt to keep hold of his claim for as long as possible, and it is easy to see why.
For a brief moment Jack Dexter looked like giving Scotland a long-awaited success but at least Highland Colori's owner, Evan Sutherland, hails from north of the border.
Louis The Pious was second, two and a half lengths away, with Jack Dexter third and Heaven's Guest fourth.
Tropics was eventually sent off favourite but never threatened.
Highland Colori has earned the chance of Group Two success and the five-year-old could take up his entry in the Dubai Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket on October 12 after he showed his love of soft ground once more by taking one of the toughest sprint handicaps in the calendar on Saturday.
"He loved the ground and a lot of his runs this season had been on ground which was quicker than ideal for him so he found a bit of improvement on the slower ground and Oisin (Murphy) gave him a lovely ride," trainer Andrew Balding told At The Races.
"You never really know about the draw but we were early out and we were keen to be high rather than low, but it looked the trend all week and being high was a big advantage.
"We had him in the Listed race at Newbury (the Dubai Duty Free Cup) in case we wanted to take that option on Friday and I put him in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket as he loves it there.
"He's won over a mile and he's obviously effective over six and seven furlongs as well and we'll probably try him again over a mile at some stage. He might take his chance in the Challenge Stakes. It's good prize money and he's a horse that comes good in the autumn."
William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (Heritage Handicap)
BUICK HAILS MURPHY BREAKTHROUGH
William Buick believes the Balding family's faith in young jockeys is giving Oisin Murphy the best possible grounding to his fledgling career.
Buick spent his formative years at Kingsclere under the wing of trainer Andrew and his father Ian which helped him become joint champion apprentice in 2008 along with another Balding prodigy David Probert, before going on to be stable jockey to John Gosden.
Murphy, 18, is the latest off the production line and the 5lb claimer hit the headlines with an incredible 9,260-1 four-timer at Ayr on Saturday.
The Killarney-born rider took his tally for the season to 28 by winning on all his four mounts at the Scottish track.
Not content with striking on Highland Colori (20-1) for the Balding stable in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, he went on to win on Levitate (5-1 joint-favourite), Silver Rime (20-1) and Cockney Sparrow (5-2 favourite).
"It was very good to see. A four-timer on Ayr Gold Cup days is a good effort and he rides well," said Buick.
"Obviously he won a big race yesterday in the Ayr Gold Cup. It's nice to see and he's in the right place.
"Andrew, Ian and the whole family are very good with young jockeys and I think Andrew is right in keeping him in better class races and trying to preserve his claim. It makes sense. He'll have it for next year and it's good to use in handicaps.
"It was great for him and great for Andrew and the family. They really are fantastic with young jockeys.
"They put a lot of trust into young jockeys. They let you get on with it. When you're young and learning your trade you make mistakes but you always get a second chance. That's always vital when you're young."
Balding had made the decision earlier in the week to keep Murphy away from riding in the smaller races and it paid dividends immediately.
"We were just anxious he was riding a lot of winners and not Saturday winners which was why we brought in the embargo about him not riding in the lower grade races and just wasting his claim," the trainer told At The Races.
"He showed everyone how good he is on Saturday. It's an incredible performance for any jockey to ride four winners on the Ayr Gold Cup card but as a 5lb claimer it really is a special achievement.
"He's no mug and I've sat him down on a couple of occasions to say it was all going a little quicker than ideal and he was very receptive. I think Saturday summed it up for him. I think he knows now the difference between riding a big winner and just riding a winner round Southwell.
"It is important for him to get that experience and I'm hoping his claim hasn't gone by Ascot next year. If it's gone after that we can crack on but we'll try and conserve it a little bit as that will be to his long-term advantage."
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