FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

THERE is class in abundance at Scotland’s biggest and richest horse racing extravaganza – the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival which has a whopping £714,000 in prize-money with a new addition this year – the £100,000 Dawn Homes Novices' Championship Handicap Chase, Class 2 run over three miles.

Vicente, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, repeated his 2016 win in the £215,000 Coral Scottish Grand National to become the first horse since Androma in 1984 and 1985 to win the race back to back.

Trainer Paul Nicholls was naturally delighted as was owner Trevor Hemmings who won his first ever Coral Scottish Grand National.

The QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle produced a tremendous finish with Chesterfield, trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by Daniel Sansom, getting up by a short head to deny Zubayr.

Malcolm Jefferson’s Cloudy Dream won the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase and the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase, Listed Race, saw Nicky Henderson’s Vaniteux win by five lengths.

Friday’s highlight, the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase was won by Two Taffs, trained by Harry Skelton.

 

Top Races

Class 1 Grade 3 Coral Scottish Grand National

Vicente wins the 2017 Coral Scottish Grand National

CLASS 1 GRADE 3 CORAL SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL

With £215,000 in prize-money this is the richest race under any code in Scotland, the second most valuable jumps race run on a Saturday and was the fourth biggest in terms of betting turnover in the UK in 2017.

Run over 3 miles 7 furlongs 176 yards with a field of up to 30 runners the historic race was first run at Ayr in 1966 and famously won by Red Rum in 1974 just a couple of weeks after winning the Grand National at Aintree.

Another chapter was added to its rich history in 2017 when Vicente, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies won for the second successive year the first horse in 32 years to do so.

Class 1 Grade 2 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle

Chesterfield gets the better of Zubayr to clinch the 2017 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle

CLASS 1 GRADE 2 QTS SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE

One of the top five handicap hurdles in the UK in terms of prize-money and one that attracts some of the highest rated hurdlers in the land from leading stables.

The 2017 field of 16 runners was not only high in quantity but also in quality with classy hurdlers including Peace And Co, Sceau Royal and L’Ami Serge all taking part.

It was Chesterfield who made the 800 mile round trip from Seamus Mullins’s Salisbury stables who took home the prize with a powerful late finish securing a short head victory over the Paul Nicholls’ trained Zubayr. It provided young jockey Dan Samson with the biggest win of his career.

The roll of honour in this contest includes some of racings all-time greats – Night Nurse (1976) Sea Pigeon (1977 and 1978) and Alderbrook (1996).

The Dawn Homes Novices' Championship Handicap Chase Class 2

A brand new £100,000 race which will be run on Saturday April 21 and is the second race on the card.

DAWN HOMES Novices' CHAMPIONSHIP Handicap Chase Class 2

A brand new £100,000 race which will be run on Saturday April 21 and is the second race on the card.

This becomes the third richest race of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and is a championship final for novice chasers.

The race will be supported by the BHA’S Development Fund as part of the Fund’s 2018 expenditure and adds to what already is a fantastic afternoon’s racing.

Class 1 Grade 2 Jordan Electrics Future Champion Chase

Cloudy Dream and jockey Brian Hughes win the 2017 Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase

CLASS 1 GRADE 2 JORDAN ELECTRICS LTD FUTURE CHAMPION NOVICES’ CHASE

The second race on the card on the Saturday of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and one that really stands out.

Sit back and watch some of the country’s leading young chasers as they negotiate the two mile four furlongs often producing some breathtaking leaps as they chase the prize.

In 2017 Cloudy Dream, running in the famous Trevor Hemmings colours,  came with a well-timed late run under jockey Brian Hughes to beat Theinval and add his name to the roll of honour that includes Grey Abbey, Monet’s Garden and French Opera.

Class 1 Listed Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

Vaniteaux (grey colours) winning the 2017 Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

CLASS 1 LISTED SCOTTY BRAND HANDICAP CHASE

This two mile chase was elevated to Listed status in 2013 and is always a highly competitive affair.

Nicky Henderson, a great supporter of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, saddled Vaniteux to win in 2017. Given a good ride by Noel Fehily the eight year old went clear after the last and won by five lengths.

Previous winners include Duke Of Navan (2015) ridden by Brian Harding for trainer Nicky Richards.

Class 1 Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase

Two Taffs winning the 2017 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase in spectacular style

CLASS 1 LISTED HILLHOUSE QUARRY HANDICAP CHASE

2017 marked the 25th year of Hillhouse Quarry sponsoring at the Scottish Grand National meeting.

Since 2015 the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase has been a Listed race and the 2017 running saw a class field go to post.

Run on the opening day of the Festival this £50,000 contest was won by Two Taffs, trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Davy Russell. Always travelling well throughout the two mile four and a half furlongs and was produced to collar Theinval on the run in and win by three lengths.

Class 2 coral.co.uk mares' Handicap Hurdle

Run over three miles, this is the second most valuable race on the opening day of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival

Class 2 coral.co.uk seafield trophy mares' Handicap Hurdle

Run over three miles, this is the second most valuable race on the opening day of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and last year was won by Jenny’s Melody who had also won the race in 2015.

Trained by Ben Arthey in Ballyclare, County Antrim, and ridden by Derek Fox, the mare loved the good to soft ground and won by a five length margin from Kerry Lee’s Happy Diva. A field of 13 runners went to post for this the biggest field since this became a three mile contest in 2009.

Famous names to have won the Mares Hurdle are Sir Anthony McCoy, successful on Bunglasha Lady for Warren Greatrex in 2011 after being sent off the 13-8 favourite and the formidable trainer-jockey combination of Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty who scored with Carole’s Legacy back in 2010.