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Michael Owen scores again as Angel Alexander strikes in Ayr Gold Cup

It must have been the best halftime that Michael Owen has ever had. While the nation's footballers were taking a break, England's former hero was shouting himself hoarse after a stunning victory in Scotland.

That was less than ideal, given that he was about to go on air to give BT Sport viewers the benefit of his Premier League opinions.

But his employers will surely have forgiven the legendary goal poacher for celebrating this particular strike wildly and well, particularly if they were on his Angel Alexander at 28-1 for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. Or the 66-1 that fellow part-owner Steve Mound got.

Not that either went into Scotland's richest Flat race thinking they had any sort of good thing, with the unseasonably warm, dry weather and an apparently unfavourable stands' side draw looking to have spoilt his chance.

"Two weeks ago when we thought it was going to be soft or heavy here we thought he had a real chance," said Mound, a property developer and financial consultant from Cheshire and one of four owners in the sprinter. "When it dried out and they've all been going over the far side we thought our chance had gone."

After tumultuous celebrations in the winner's enclosure, he admitted: "It was one of those afternoons when I came for the enjoyment of having a runner in the Ayr Gold Cup, not really expecting to win it. I only got excited in the last 100 yards – and I got very, very excited! What a buzz! That's tremendous!" 

Excitement for those on at fancy prices – and those watching in a TV studio far away – grew as the Tom Dascombe-trained Angel Alexander, one of only two three-year-olds in the field, hit the front among the half-dozen who raced on the stands' side over a furlong out.

He headed overall leader Growl near the finish and held on by half a length. Hot favourite Buffer Zone was never really travelling and came home 17th of the 24 runners. 

Trainer Ger Lyons reported that Buffer Zone ran flat and that the race may have come too soon.

Richard Kingscote was thrilled with the winner and said: "He showed he coped with decent ground. The draw wasn't looking positive but it wasn't a factor in the end. He got a nice bit of flow and he enjoyed the straight track.

"He's always looked like a horse who could win a big pot. The owners will have loads of fun with him, he has lots of options. He's a likeable horse.

"He was in front long enough on our side, wandering a little, so in the end I had to put my stick down and balance him up but he always felt like he was just doing enough. I did get there a little early but he had momentum so I let him carry it rather than waiting and messing him around."

Kingscote recently rode his 500th winner for Dascombe, who missed the race due to a train delay, and he paid tribute to the absent trainer.   

"He's a lovely boss," the jockey said. "We work well. He's been there a long time for me, he really supported me early on. And he can certainly train."

Runner-up Growl was matching his feat of 2016 and had Richard Fahey ruing what might have been.

"I feel sorry for him," the trainer said. "He's been placed in Stewards' Cups and Ayr Gold Cups – he's run a blinder but it's all about winning, isn't it?"

That's something Owen would agree on. Wonder if he has designs on matching fellow England forward Kevin Keegan, whose Funfair Wane won two Ayr Gold Cups early this century?

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