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Brampton based trainer Maurice Barnes saw his eight year-old gelding Bafana Blue win his fifth race from his last seven starts in the feature contest at Ayr yesterday and then set his sights high.
Coming to the last fence in the three mile handicap chase the race was developing into a ding dong battle between the eventual winner and Sophie Olivia. A final fence fall by the latter left the 7-4 favourite clear and he won by 26 lengths from Polydora.
Winning jockey Ross Chapman said : “We didn’t think he would enjoy the soft ground at Carlisle last time as he’s done most of his winning on a sounder surface but he won easily there. He switches off well in his races and jumps for fun. Dale Irving deserves great credit because he normally rides him out at home and has put a lot of hard work into this”
Next up for Bafana Blue could be the Borders National at Kelso on December 8 with Maurice Barnes adding : “The plan would be to head to Kelso providing he goes up in the weights enough to get in the race.”
Earlier on the card – Ayr’s last meeting of 2019 – the Barnes-Chapman team won the two and a half mile maiden hurdle with Victory Echo, 7-2, turning over the odds on favourite Lossiemouth.
Trainer Ian Duncan who trains just six miles from the course at Coylton saddled Jessiemac, 7-1, to win the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. This was the five year old’s second successive course win and her trainer said : “She loves it round here and Derek (Fox) has given her a brilliant ride. We decided to drop her back in trip today and she’s relished the testing ground”
Fife trainer Nick Alexander continued his fine run of form when Calivigny, 2-1 favourite, won the opening 2m 3f handicap hurdle by twelve lengths from Chosen Flame. Jockey Kit Alexander sent the ten year-old into the lead from the off and he made all to win easily.
This was the final meeting of the year at Ayr, with New Year’s Raceday on January 2 the next fixture.
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