The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

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.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

New figures show a slowdown in Scottish construction sector during start of 2016

Slower start to the year, however, growth expectations remain firm

Slowdown in rate of construction workload-growth over past three months

Workloads in the private industrial sector fall for first time since 2012

Growth waning ahead of elections and referendum

Growth in private industrial and infrastructure construction slowed considerably during the first quarter of 2016, according the RICS Construction Market Survey, Q1 2016.

[Pictured: Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland]

On the whole workloads grew relatively firmly, with a net balance of 18% of respondents reporting a rise in construction activity across Scotland. Construction activity in the commercial and public non-housing segments continued to rise steadily, while a net balance of 4% of respondents reported a decline in activity in private industrial section.

There were positive signs in the housing market, with net balances of 21% and 16% of surveyors reporting growth in activity in the private and public sectors respectively.

Confidence in the outlook for the sector in Scotland also looks positive, with 50% more respondents expecting workloads to rise rather than fall over the next 12 months. This is teamed with a net balance of 39% of contributors expecting employment in the sector to increase over the next year.

Despite the positive predictions for growth in activity and employment, 63% of respondents highlight a shortage of skills as a key barrier for potential growth.

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS in Scotland commented: “Our survey tells us that planning delays and skills shortages are the biggest barriers to growth in the construction sector. Within our manifesto to the next Scottish Government, RICS calls for the introduction of Construction and Planning Skills programmes. These should include building experience within the industry short term and recruiting more people to impact the medium and longer term.”

“That said, there are additional barriers to growth and we cannot discount the climate of uncertainty caused by the forthcoming Scottish Elections and EU referendum. We know that a range of sectors have been affected by these issues as investors look to delay any decisions until a final outcome has been determined, and construction is no exception.”