Friday, 16 February 2018
By: Iain Ferguson
THIS year’s Coral Scottish Grand National Festival will be the richest ever in history with a massive £714,000 in prize-money – a near £100,000 increase on last year.
[Pictured: Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates winning last year’s
Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse.]
Run on Friday 20 April and Saturday 21 April, the Festival features a brand new £100,000 race to be staged on the Saturday.
A three mile open novices’ handicap chase over three miles, it will be the second race on the card and becomes the third six-figure-plus race on the day alongside the £215,000 Coral Scottish Grand National and the £105,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.
The race will be a championship final for novice chasers who, to qualify. must have finished in the first eight in at least one weight for age novices’ or beginners chase during the 2017-2018 season, and will be supported by the BHA’s Development Fund as part of the Fund’s 2018 expenditure.
There are 15 races across the two days, including two Grade 2s, a Grade 3 and two Listed Races.
Most of the leading trainers in the UK and Ireland are likely to have runners, and the top jockeys riding should include Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies, Brian Hughes, Tom Scudamore and Ruby Walsh.
The principal race on the Friday is the £50,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase, a Listed Race over two miles four furlongs.
Another race to have received a financial boost is Friday’s coral.co.uk Mares’ Handicap Hurdle which increases in value from £25,000 to £30,000.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said : “We are excited by the addition of the new race on the Saturday, and with other significant increases in prize-money throughout the two days it is by some way the richest ever jumps Festival in Scotland.”
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.
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Work to transform the derelict stables at Ayr's Belleisle Estate into a vibrant visitor hub is now underway. Once completed, the new project will provide the tens of thousands of people using the park every year with a central base from which to explore the park.
[Pictured: Work is now well underway on the project.]
The £1.4million project will create a brand new ‘Arrival hub’ that will include a flexible community space, a café, facilities for Park Rangers, and visitor toilets. The building will use reclaimed stone and glass to provide a visual transition between Belleisle House, Belleisle Golf Course, and the outstanding environment of the wider estate.
The building will be powered by a biomass boiler, one of the cleanest, greenest renewable energy sources and an example of the Council’s commitment to help protect the environment.
[Pictured: Artist’s Impression of how the new visitor hub will look.]
Prestwick-based contractor Ashleigh Construction has been appointed to construct the facility, which is expected to complete by November 2018.
The work is part of a wider programme at Belleisle Estate, which has benefited from investment of around £5 million in the last three years, which has seen visitor numbers double to 200,000 as a result.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment said he was looking forward to seeing the end results. “We’ve seen fantastic improvements at Belleisle in recent years and the new visitor centre will create a focal point for the huge number of people that are already coming to enjoy the estate.
“With major projects already completed including the Conservatory, walled Garden, play area, and major improvements to the footpaths and wildlife and fauna within the park. we’re looking forward to seeing the stables rise to become a much loved community asset.
"In the next few months we’ll see the visitor centre take shape, with people able to enjoy the new facility by the end of the year. After that the last major piece of work involves restoration to the entrance after which we’ll be left with an estate which is well and truly back to its best.”