Another Festival - Another Winner...
WINNER 88 OF 2023: END ZONE, trained by Roger Fell & Sean Murray, ridden by Ben Curtis: The 'Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Handicap' over 7f at the Ayr Gold Cup Festival.
Despite the rain that had started to come down, owners were still delighted to be in the paddock, for the final race on day one of the Ayr Gold Cup Festival. End Zone was reunted with Ben Curtis, who hit the headlines this week, after riding his 1,000th British winner.
He can be a bit sluggish at the start but here he didn't do too badly, settling into midfield on the inner. As they came into the home straight, Ben pulled him out to the far side of the group to make his effort and they made good headway from the 2f marker. He led narrowly, but was challenged for the lead on the stands side and then from out of nowehere he faced a fast closer on his outer! All out, he just prevailed, winning by a nose in the photo!
"What a terrific finish!" Watch the full race replay here: https://www.racingtv.com/results/uk/465835-ayr/21-Sep-2023/1717
Timeform rated it as a 73 performance, saying: "Had slipped back to his his last winning mark and shrugged off last month's poor display to edge out a pair of less exposed 3-y-os, albeit slightly fortunate to do so given the trouble met by Highfield Viking; mid-division, ridden under 3f out, edged ahead entering final 1f, just held on.”
See the official photo gallery here: https://www.grossick.co.uk/p/80532khg/C385616325/x8-end-zone
Syndicate manager Mike says: "Well done to his owners on his 7th career win! He was tough there at the end to see off challengers from both sides and it was nice to be there to give him a pat after the race. This is a meeting we love to support and so do our owners. We have had a winner here every year since 2018, so to get this year off to a winning start on the first of the three days is lovely! We had a near miss on a double too, when VENTURA RASCAL ran a stormer to take 2nd in the 4.10 (a race that he had in fact won in 2021!)"