Wednesday, 25 April 2018
By: Iain Ferguson
THE closest finish ever in a Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse saw 33-1 chance Joe Farrell hold on by a nose from Ballyoptic to land the £122,000 prize and give trainer Rebecca Curtis and jockey Adam Wedge their biggest ever success.
[Trainer Rebecca Curtis and jockey Adam Wedge
celebrate their success at Ayr Racecourse.]
It was an enthralling race, and at one point it looked as if Vicente was going to create history by becoming the first horse in more than 100 years to win three consecutive Scottish Grand Nationals. Sam Twiston-Davies had his mount perfectly situated on the outside of the pack, but his jumping didn’t stand up in the home straight, and he had to settle for a gallant fifth place.
But take nothing away from the brilliant Joe Farrell who denied Ballyoptic’s trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies his fourth win in the race. Ironically Nigel also had the runner up last year in Cogry.
The story behind Joe Farrell is one of a horse whose career has been hampered by injury, but he turned up in fine fettle at the Craigie track on Saturday and delivered in spades. He led three out, and at that stage it looked as if it was just a matter of how far, but Ballyoptic and jockey Tom Bellamy had other ideas, and the crowd were left wondering who had won as the two horses flashed past the post.
But when the announcement went up that Joe Farrell had won Rebecca Curtis was one relieved woman. She’s had a rotten season one way or another, but to win the Coral Scottish Grand National has changed everything. Speaking in the Winners Enclosure after the race, Rebecca said: “I own a quarter of him. I bought him quite cheaply out of John Ferguson’s sale. He had broken down on both his front legs. I took a chance with him and thankfully he’s won a big race. It’s paid off.
“It’s my first time ever in Scotland and to win a race like this is unbelievable. I’ll be back.”
Jockey Adam Wedge rode Court Minstrel to win the 2013 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle but Saturday’s success was by far his biggest ever and he said afterwards: “I had no idea I’d won. I thought Tom had just beaten me, so I was overjoyed to hear my boy called the winner.”
Among the other highlights over the two days was the win of Midnight Shadow in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle for trainer Sue Smith and jockey Danny Cook. Danny said: “I’ve landed a few good pots this season, but this is the best.”
Value At Risk won Friday’s Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase Listed Race for trainer Dan Skelton and his jockey brother Harry, while the new £100,000 race on Saturday the Dawn Homes Novices’ Championship Handicap Chase was captured by 22-1 outsider Crosshue Boy for trainer Sean Doyle and jockey Harley Dunne.
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.
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
The List publishes Ayrshire Larder Food and Drink Map
Ayrshire's Food and Drink producers have long been putting the area on the map. But now, thanks to an Ayrshire wide initiative by the Ayrshire Food and Drink Steering Group, it's Ayrshire putting Food and Drink on its own map.
Produced by popular Listings publisher, The List, in conjunction with all three Ayrshire Councils, the Ayrshire Larder Food Map is a comprehensive guide to some of the many producers, retailers, cafes and restaurants in Ayrshire, all the way from Ballantrae to Largs and taking in the islands of Cumbrae and Arran too.
Councillor Brian McGinley, Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "Ayrshire is famous the world over for quality food and drink and this map will help to cement our position. It's packed with information and showcases everything from our largest producers to those hidden gems. The new leaflet also highlights 3 food trails Burns, Coastal & Seafood and Picnic which will prove invaluable as people 'taste' their way across Ayrshire. We will continue to work with our partners to bring the very best of Ayrshire produce to as many people as we can."
The map, launched at the Visit Scotland Tourism Expo 2018, www.visitscotlandexpo.com/ will be widely distributed in public buildings, shops, cafes, accommodation and tourism venues throughout Ayrshire and beyond.
Further details of the The List's Ayrshire Larder Food Map can be found HERE
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.