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Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 12:46 UK

Scots plot Ayr Gold Cup glory

Jockey Ted Durcan
Jockey Ted Durcan will ride Jim Goldie-trained Hawkeyethenoo on Saturday

BBC Scotland's racing reporter Geoff Webster
By Geoff Webster
BBC Scotland racing reporter

Followers of Scottish racing need no reminding that it's 35 years since a horse trained in Scotland won the Ayr Gold Cup.

September 1975 was when the chestnut-coloured Roman Warrior - trained across the road from the racecourse by the late Nigel Angus and ridden by Johnny Seagrave - carried the huge weight of 10 stone in heavy ground to win narrowly.

That was when the race was run on a Friday afternoon. I know this because I skipped school in Glasgow that day to make the journey down to Ayr to see the Warrior's greatest success.

You see, by that time, I'd got to know the Warrior well. I had spent part of the summer working at Cree Lodge stables where Nigel Angus trained.

The mighty Warrior was massive; he looked more like a three-mile steeplechaser rather than a six-furlong sprinter.

But when he burst out the stalls - his jockey holding on for dear life - his long stride devoured the ground and few other horses could live with him.

All the signs are there for a Scottish-trained winner but we've said that several times over the last 35 years

His size meant he had to have the biggest stable and, as you entered Cree Lodge, you could see him surveying all around him from his box in the top right-hand corner of the yard.

In July that year, he won a valuable sprint at Ayr and I was determined not to miss his attempt to win the Gold Cup.

It wasn't hard to dodge out the school gates that Friday for the trip to Ayr - my father was waiting round the corner in his car!

He, too, had realised we could be witnessing a piece of Scottish racing history and, for once, agreed that studying form that day would be far more educational than anything I could be learning in the classroom.

The rest, as they say, is history but as we made our way back home, we never imagined that 35 years later we'd still be waiting for the next Scottish-trained winner of the Ayr Gold Cup.

Many trainers have tried - including Jim Goldie, Ian Semple, Linda Perratt and Charlie Williams - but none has succeeded.

Each year, we keep looking for the one that might do it. Each year, we leave the racecourse sprinkling the confetti of ripped-up losing betting slips.

Yet come Saturday, we'll be asking once again: Is this the year?

Well, Jim Goldie - who trains at Uplawmoor just a few miles south of Glasgow - will have runners and Hawkeyethenoo is to be ridden by Ted Durcan.

The four-year-old has already won at York and Newmarket this season and was second at Epsom on Derby Day in June.

All the signs are there for a Scottish-trained winner but we've said that several times over the last 35 years.

I'll be there on Saturday, once again, memories flooding back of that day 35 years ago. If we do have a Scottish winner, at least any schoolchildren won't have had to play truant to be there.



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