The second flat fixture of the season at Ayr arrives hot on the heels of last week’s opener, with a seven-race card on offer at the track on Wednesday, May 22, which includes Ayr’s first listed race of the new campaign. 

The £47,000 Class 1 Rothesay Stakes over the one mile two furlong trip is the feature race on the card at 3.20pm today, a race won by last year’s 1000 Guineas-winning trainer Roger Varian with Al Husn, who went on to score in the Group one Qatar Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood later in the season.

Varian doesn’t have a runner in the 2024 edition of the Rothesay but the big gun trainers are represented this year, including William Haggas with Red Danielle, who has swapped Newmarket yards from Varian to Haggas and makes his debut run for the latter at Ayr. 

The third race on Wednesday’s card, preference in it is for the Ralph Beckett-trained Verbier, who is lightly-raced for a four-year-old who won at Wolverhampton last season. Verbier was a decent two-length fourth in a Listed contrast at Lingfield in December and returns to the track after a 143-day absence this week. 

Before the feature race, the action gets underway at Ayr at 2.20pm with a six-runner maiden stakes in class four over six furlongs.

The Haggas-trained Shy Hi Bye boasts by far the best form of the field, finishing second in a minor Newcastle contest last time out and should get the better of Mutamanni, who was fourth on debut at Yarmouth and rates as the chief challenger. 

Race two (2.50pm) sees 11 runners head to the stalls for the six furlong handicap in class six and a chance is taken on Nazca, who has two wins from five runs on the all-weather this season and is launched into a turf handicap on a much-reduced mark.

Doon The Glen, trained by Jim Goldie, is a player too, arriving at Ayr off a career-best second at Hamilton just five days ago. 

The Rothesay Stakes takes centre stage in race three (3.20pm) and then nine runners take to the track for race four (3.50pm) in the one mile class four handicap.

Nikovo was a back-to-back winner on the all-weather in the spring before being hampered in his hat-trick bid at Leicester earlier this month and is taken to get back to winning ways here ahead of Kelpie Grey, who did complete a hat-trick when winning at Ayr’s opening fixture of the Flat season but has to carry a penalty this time around. 

Match Play is dropping down in grade and is the one to beat in race five of the Ayr card (4.20pm) ahead of the in-from Paddy’s Day for the Nigel Tinkler team.

The penultimate race of Wednesday’s meeting (4.55pm) can go the way of Born Ruler in the 1m2f class four handicap, shaping well in a Lingfield handicap when second 20 days ago for trainer Sir Mark Prescott. 

Finally, the card comes to a close with an apprentice handicap over the mile distance in class six (5.30pm) with Wolverhampton winner Covert Legend taken to get back to winning ways after a disappointing Thirsk outing last week, dropping down in class.

Braes Of Doune is unexposed in this sphere and can run close, having won at Ayr back in June last year. 


Ayr selections - Wednesday (via horse racing odds)

  • 2.20pm - Shy Hi Bye
  • 2.50pm - Nazca
  • 3.20pm - Verbier
  • 3.50pm - Nikovo
  • 4.20pm - Match Play
  • 4.55pm - Born Ruler
  • 5.30pm - Covert Legend