Thursday, 16 April 2015
AP McCoy to ride in Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse
By: Iain Ferguson
AP McCoy, who rode Shutthefrontdoor to come fifth in last Saturday’s Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree, will now be in action at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse this weekend.
The champion jockey (pictured above) is booked to ride Jonjo O’Neill’s Capard King in the Abbott Risk Consulting Novices’ Handicap Hurdle on Friday, and is likely to have many more mounts at the meeting.
McCoy, who earlier this year announced his intention to retire, will now ride on until 25 April and the season’s final meeting at Sandown.
The champion’s sole win in the Scottish Grand National came in 1997 on board Belmont King for Paul Nicholls.
It is unclear what McCoy will ride in Saturday’s £210,000 Coral sponsored race, the highlight of the two day, 15 race Festival.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “Everyone at Ayr is looking forward to welcoming AP McCoy here for the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival.
“It is fitting that his fans north of the border will now have the opportunity to see AP in action at Scotland’s biggest jumps Festival.
“This traditionally is our best attended meeting, and AP McCoy’s presence will undoubtedly lead to an unprecedented rush for tickets.
The current favourite for the Coral Scottish Grand National is Gallant Oscar, trained in County Meath by Tony Martin, at 10/1.
The highlight of Friday’s card is the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase, which this year has Listed status for the first and carries a healthy £40,000 prize fund. There are 32 entries for this including horses from the top stables of Nicky Henderson, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Philip Hobbs, Alan King and Nicky Richards.
Sandra Hughes aims for Irish-Scottish National double
IRISH trainer Sandra Hughes is aiming for a Grand National double at Ayr on Saturday when she runs Raz de Maree in the Coral Scottish Grand National.
Sandra, who took over the licence in November 2014 after her father Dessie died, saddled Thunder And Roses to win last Monday's Irish Grand National.
She now intends to come to Ayr on Saturday to capture the £210,000 Coral Scottish Grand National with Raz de Maree, who was runner-up to Goonyella, another intended runner at Ayr on Saturday, in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter earlier this year.
Other intended runners include Jonjo O'Neill's Catching On, top eight Sam Winner from the Paul Nicholls stable, Lucinda Russell's Lie Forrit (pictured above), and last year's winner Al Co, a faller at the first in Saturday's Grand National at Aintree.
Meanwhile Paul Nicholls has two of the highest rated horses in Saturday's £100,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle, the main supporting race on Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday.
He has highly talented Irving, the top weight and winner of this season's Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and also the five year-old Calipto.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We have first class horses remaining in both the principal races, and with 216 entries across Saturday's eight races and a further 196 for Friday's card we have all the top stables in the country with representatives including a healthy number of Irish based entries.”
The Coral Scottish Grand National Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday and there are seven races on the opening day with eight on Saturday. In total there is more than £580,000 in prize-money.
For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.
Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.