by Lucy Russell-Hughes

RYEDALE trainer Tim Easterby was celebrating after claiming two of the big sprint prizes on offer at the prestigious Ayr Gold Cup meeting.

Easterby saddled Music Society to victory in Friday’s Bronze Cup and then Golden Apollo was a worthy winner of the Silver Cup 24 hours later on Gold Cup day, to mark a memorable few days for the team.

Both the Bronze and the Silver Cup are consolations races for the main race.

Staxton was Easterby’s only runner in Saturday’s showpiece and despite not giving his trainer a historic sprint treble, which no trainer has achieved since the Bronze Cup was introduced in 2009, he still ran a creditable race to finish 10th in the ultra-competitive 25 runner affair.

However, it was the three-year-old Angel Alexander, trained by Tom Dascombe and ridden by Richard Kingscote, who took the big race spoils at odds of 28-1.

It is a race that still eludes Easterby, his father Peter trained the winner on three occasions and it looks only a matter of time before the trophy comes back to Great Habton.

The Bronze Cup winner Music Society now looks a very shrewd purchase by Easterby’s son William, who paid just 9,000gns for the gelding at last October’s Newmarket Horses In Training Sales.

It is the four-year-old’s third win for the yard this year and he looks to be improving all the time.

Drawn in stall five of the Silver Cup, the winner Golden Apollo was always travelling strongly throughout the race, despite the official winning margin being just a neck.

“We thought he would win the Ayr Gold Cup a couple of years ago, but it was called off so that was that,” the trainer told ITV Racing after Golden Apollo’s win on Saturday.

Easterby added: “He’s a wonderful horse and he’s got a great attitude.

"He got the right draw and a bit of pace and he ran to the line. He’s run at all the big meetings this year; he’s not run a bad race ever.

"On very firm ground he struggles and on very heavy ground he struggles, but today was perfect ground for him.”

Golden Apollo’s loyal owner David Scott has enjoyed many successful days in the winner’s enclosure; however this was his biggest win to date.

“David is a lovely owner, he lets you run them when you want to run them, it’s a shame he isn’t here today, but it’s a long way for him to come, he was at work this morning when I rang him. He loves to work,” said Easterby.

Stable jockey David Allan was in the saddle and he said: “He's been a bit unfortunate recently.

"He just needed a strong pace and with this number of runners and the type of race, its right up his street and it's worked out perfect for him.”

The good run continues for the Easterby yard, as on Monday the team celebrated not only a double on the card at Hamilton, but also their 100th winner of the campaign. Shortbackandsides was the horse to take the season tally to a century, when winning the six furlong class six handicap on the rain softened ground at the Scottish track.

Then the seven-year-old Multellie scored in the class four veterans’ handicap over a mile and half for owner David Scott, the same winning connections of Golden Apollo.

DAVID O’MEARA was also celebrating success on Ayr Gold Cup day when the likeable Waarif recorded back to back victories in the William Hill Foundation: Uniting Against Dementia Handicap with a gutsy display for owners Middleham Park Racing and top jockey Danny Tudhope.

Tudhope switched to the O’Meara-trained six-year-old after his intended mount, Hortzadar, was a late non-runner and it paid off with a half-length success in the mile contest.

“He’s very tough. He won this race last year and it’s nice to do it again. He’s won well with a bit in hand,” said Tudhope.

Exactly two hours later O’Meara was victorious with the likeable Leodis Dream who got his head in front on the all-weather surface at Chelmsford to record an across the card double for the Upper Helmsley trainer.

The three-year-old looked a very smart prospect at the beginning of the season when winning three competitive races on the bounce; however his last two runs he finished in the rear on both occasions and would have left his trainer scratching his head.

The win for Leodis Dream highlights a fantastic piece of training and placing from O’Meara, to get the horse back winning in good company and making the long journey south to the Essex venue worthwhile.

WHERE there was delight for most local trainers on Saturday, there was frustration for others.

Malton trainer Richard Fahey saddled three seconds on Ayr Gold Cup day.

The first of the near misses was recorded in the opening race on the card, the EBF Nursery Handicap, when the improving two-year-old Yoshimi was defeated by only a neck.

Then Gabrial The Saint, carrying the familiar silks of Dr Marwan Koukash took second honours in the Silver Cup after running up with the pace throughout the majority of the contest.

The ever consistent Growl finished a gallant runner up in the Gold Cup for the second time, after he narrowly missed out in 2016.

Owner Koukash took to Twitter to say: “It could have been a fantastic day at Ayr however finishing second in both the silver and gold cups is not a bad days racing!”