Wednesday, 20 April 2016
Paul Nicholls wins 2016 Scottish Grand National - and three other races
By: Iain Ferguson
Paul Nicholls was the star of the 2016 Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse, saddling four winners on Saturday to move to the top of the British Trainers’ Championship ahead of Willie Mullins.
And the Somerset-based trainer capped it all by sending out Vicente (pictured above left) to win the £210,000 Coral Scottish Grand National under a fine ride by Sam Twiston-Davies.
The seven year old was always there or thereabouts, and accelerated from the last past the Scottish trained Seeyouatmidnight who was pipped at the line for second spot by Alvarado.
A delighted Nicholls (pictured above) said after the race: “ I really fancied Vicente, and we’re back in the game in the Trainers’ Championship.
“Vicente isn’t a bad jumper, but he tends to do things his own way. Sam rode a peach of race.”
The main supporting race, the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle produced an enthralling finish with the Dan Skelton trained Ch’Tibello, ridden by Harry Skelton, holding off the fast finishing Cloudy Dream who was an unlucky loser.
This was another tremendous race with Willie Mullins’ Clondaw Warrior in third place and most of the 13 strong field finishing close up.
Paul Nicholls four timer was completed by Vivaldi Collonges, ridden by Sean Bowen, in the Weatherbys Private Bank Novices Handicap Chase, Le Mercurey, with Sam Twiston-Davies in the plate, winning the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase and Gibbes Bay prevailing in the Skyform Group National Hunt Flat Race providing the aforementioned Twiston-Davies with a treble on the day.
It was the first time Willie Mullins has had runners at Ayr, and although he had no winners he had two placed horses and indicated he will return.
Friday’s feature race, the £45,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase saw a huge gamble pay off when Definitely Red, trained by Brian Ellison and ridden by Danny Cook win at odds of 7-4. Given a very positive ride he fought off challengers to win well.
The Malcolm Jefferson yard, unlucky in Saturday’s QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle, were on the mark on Friday in the Abbott Risk Consulting Novices’ Handicap Hurdle when Gully’s Edge (9-2) won by five lengths under Jamie Hamilton to beat the Jim Goldie trained Caledonia.
For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 n565691.
Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.