Mr Lupton heads Ayr Gold Cup field after Irish win

Ante-post favourite Mr Lupton is among a maximum field of 25 declared for the QTS Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

Richard Fahey’s well-seasoned sprinter showed his well being when taking a 22-runner handicap at the Curragh last weekend. He will race from stall 11.

Stone Of Destiny (drawn 19), winner of last week’s Portland Handicap at Doncaster, bids to complete a big sprint double for Andrew Balding that was achieved by his father Ian with Lochsong in 1992.

David O’Meara has four runners, headed by top-weight Gulliver (20). Young Fire (4), Cold Stare (21) and Arecibo (25) while Major Jumbo (16), Hey Jonesy (8) and Bielsa (22) make up Kevin Ryan’s three-strong team.

Staxton (15), trained by Tim Easterby, made the cut thanks to a 5lb penalty for winning the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon.

Richard Hannon’s Lexington Dash (1) was the last of the 25 to get in.

Group One winner Addeybb is set to face six rivals in the Jordan Electrics Doonside Cup.

The William Haggas-trained gelding won twice at the top level in Australia earlier in the year and was second to Lord North in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The six-year-old drops back into Listed company for the first time since the Royal meeting in 2019 and has a 7lb penalty to concede.

Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara, is the other Group One scorer in the field, having lifted the Queen Anne Stakes last season while Fox Chairman and San Donato have form at Group level.

Rose Of Kildare gave Mark Johnston his first Scotty Brand Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes success 12 months ago and the Middleham trainer relies on Perfect Times this time.

A competitive field of 15 includes Umm Kulthum, She’s So Nice and Scarlet Bear, who were third, fourth and fifth respectively in the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York.

Scarlet Bear has since finished third in the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury earlier this month when Illykato was fourth.

Fozzy Stack’s Sloane Peterson is the sole Irish raider.

Cayenne Pepper too hot for Blandford rivals

Cayenne Pepper was rewarded for a string of consistent efforts with a stylish victory in the Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes at the Curragh.

Jessica Harrington’s filly had shown smart form as a juvenile and went on to be fourth in the Fillies’ Mile.

This year she had been second in all three of her runs, including the Irish Oaks, but had been beaten at a short price in the Give Thanks Stakes most recently.

Dropped back to 10 furlongs on this occasion, though, Shane Foley always looked in command.

He tracked Amma Grace into the straight before taking up the running over a furlong out and his mount powered through the line to take the Group Two honours by four lengths at 3-1. Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand was a disappointing favourite.

Assistant trainer Kate Harrington said: “That was the true Cayenne Pepper. She got a good tow into the race and was really impressive.

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“We had a lot of issues with her in the spring and today was the first day she looked well and strong.

“She’s in the Prix de l’Opera, but I think Alpine Star goes there. She’s got an invite for the QEII at the Keeneland and she could stay over there for the Breeders’ Cup.

“It’s sad that Jon Kelly (owner) wasn’t around to see her, but he’ll be up there looking down on her. He passed away a week after the Oaks. It’s lovely for her to win, but it’s a bit emotional.

“We might go to America with her for Sarah (Kelly to see her, providing everything is OK.s Cup.

“We’ll let the dust settle and see how she is this week.”

There was a British-trained success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap, with Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton lifting the valuable pot.

Fahey’s charge had won a Group Two at the Curragh last May, but had been winless since and largely out of sorts.

He hinted at a return to form last time out when third in the Great St Wilfrid and the well-backed 11-2 favourite streaked clear with a furlong to run.

Lil Grey kept him honest home before fading into third, with Blairmayne running on into second, beaten half a length.

Fahey said: “He’s a wonderful horse. He’d lost his way a bit, but at least it gave him a chance to come back to handicaps and we’re delighted with him – he’s a star.

“All going well the plan is to take him to the Ayr Gold Cup next week. We were going to go straight there, but the prize-money on offer today took over – it was a good prize to win.”

Fahey and Keane then doubled up when Shark One Two (20-1) won the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes.

It was a fourth winner of the weekend for Keane.

“Talking to Richard he was a little bit bullish and he was right. He quickened up well and you couldn’t be happier,” said Keane.

Sonnyboyliston then defied a 13lb rise in the weights to round off a great weekend for Johnny Murtagh in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Northfields” Handicap, under Billy Lee.