Captain Ramius comes home in splendid isolation to land the Ayr Gold CupPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Captain takes full command in Gold Cup
Report: Ayr, Saturday
William Hill Ayr Gold Cup (Handicap) 3y0+, 6f
PRICEWISE pick Captain Ramius ran away with Europe's richest sprint handicap as he slaughtered a competitive field under Pat Smullen to give trainer Kevin Ryan a third win in the race.
Nothing could get near the 16-1 winner (advised at 33-1 by Pricewise) as he easily saw off former victor Regal Parade, who ran on into second ahead of 8-1 favourite Maarek. Long-time leader Sholaan was fourth with last year's fourth Colonel Mak a place worse this year in fifth spot.
"It's the richest handicap in Europe and when it comes off it's great. I'm delighted to win it again," said a thrilled Ryan.
Captain Ramius was following on from the stable's Advanced in 2007 and Our Jonathan last year, giving Ryan a third win in six years.
Our Jonathan, who was well beaten on this occasion, was a very impressive two-length winner 12 months ago and it was virtually a carbon-copy performance from his stablemate here, who was away and clear with two furlongs to run.
All the six-year-old had to do from there on was keep going forward and he was well in command at the line.
Winning rider Smullen said afterwards: "The owners really fancied him today. I was keen to get a good position from my draw and he's travelled very well. Kevin has been a good supporter of mine when he comes to Ireland and I'm delighted for everyone involved."
Many people had talked about the need to stay further than 6f to win this prize and Captain Ramius, who had been placed in the furlong-further Bunbury Cup earlier in the summer when conditions were similar, was winning over this distance for the first time.
Special mention must be given to the runner-up, who won this way back in 2008 and was finishing placed for the 27th time in 56 starts. Now eight, he has won ten times, including two Group 1s.
The victory initiated a stunning treble for Pricewise supremo Tom Segal, who less than half an hour later floored bookmakers with 9-1 and 12-1 winners.
Paddy Power reported the treble to have cost his firm in the region of half a million pounds.
He said: "Pricewise was in monster form with the three winners, which were all heavily backed, making it a very expensive day for us.
"Swiss Spirit [Newbury 3.45] was probably our worst result being backed into 3-1 (from 9-1) and Tom cost us around half a million pounds including multiple bets."
Segal completed his treble when Domination [SP 13-2] won Newmarket's 3.55.