FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

There is class in abundance at Scotland’s biggest and richest horse racing extravaganza – the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival.

With £615,000 in prize-money and no fewer than five Class 1 races this is jumps racing at its very best.

The Saturday highlights are the £215,000 Coral Scottish Grand National and the £105,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle.

In 2016 Vicente, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies won the four mile marathon Coral Scottish Grand National and in doing so virtually clinched the British Trainers Championship for Paul Nicholls allowing him to edge ahead of Irish legend Willie Mullins.

The QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle saw Ch’tibello deny the fast finishing Cloudy Dream in a rousing finish giving Dan Skelton his first major win at Scotland’s premier meeting.

 

Top Races

Class 1 Grade 3 Coral Scottish Grand National

Vicente, winner of the 2016 Coral Scottish Grand National

The Coral Scottish Grand National

With £215,000 in prize-money this is the richest race under any code in Scotland, the second most valuable jumps race run on a Saturday and the fourth biggest in terms of betting turnover in the UK.

Run over four miles with a field of up to 30 runners the historic race was first run at Ayr in 1966 and famously won by Red Rum in 1974 just a couple of weeks after winning the Grand National at Aintree.

Its history is punctuated by some of the biggest names in racing – Sir Anthony McCoy rode Belmont King to win for Nicholls in 1997 and the champion trainer won the Coral Scottish Grand National for a second time last year with Vicente ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.

Class 1 Grade 2 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle

Ch’itebello, trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by Harry Skelton, winner of the 2016 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle

QTS SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE

A race that just keeps improving year on year and now rightly sits at the top table of hurdle races in the UK and Ireland attracting some of the highest rated hurdlers in the land.

The £105,000 prize fund attracts most of the leading yards and in 2016 Dan Skelton saddled Ch’tibello to win on what was a landmark season for the young trainer who broke the 100 winner mark for the first time and also won his maiden £1,000,000 in prize-money.

The roll of honour in this contest includes some of racings all-time greats – Night Nurse (1976) Sea Pigeon (1977 and 1978) and Alderbrook (1996). Who will join that list in 2017 ?

Class 1 Grade 2 Jordan Electrics Future Champion Chase

Sam Twiston-Davies recieves his trophy after riding Le Mercurey

JORDAN ELECTRICS FUTURE CHAMPION CHASE

The second race on the card on the Saturday of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and one that really stands out.

Sit back and watch some of the country’s leading young chasers as they negotiate the two mile four furlongs often producing some breathtaking leaps as they chase the prize.

In 2016 Le Mercurey produced an outstanding performance to defeat odds on Bristol De Mai by seven lengths as trainer Paul Nicholls made the day his own saddling four winners on the day.

Class 1 Listed Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

De Faoithesdream winner of the 2016 Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

THE SCOTTY BRAND HANDICAP CHASE (LISTED RACE)

The race which is run immediately prior to the Coral Scottish Grand National this two mile chase was elevated to Listed status in 2013 and is always a highly competitive affair.

Last year Evan Williams, who has an excellent record at the fixture, sent De Faoithesdream on the long journey from Wales to win and the previous year Duke Of Navan was a popular winner for trainer Nicky Richards.

A fast and furious race which normally attracts a large and competitive field.

Class 1 Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase

The 2016 running was won by Definitly Red trained by Brian Ellison

THE HILLHOUSE QUARRY HANDICAP CHASE (LISTED RACE)

2017 sees the landmark 25th running of the Hillhouse Quarry Chase which makes it one of the longest running sponsorships in horseracing.

Given Listed status in 2015 this £50,000 race, run over two miles four furlongs, is the feature event on the Friday of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and invariably produces a worthy winner.

In 2016 that honour went to the Brian Ellison trained, Danny Cook ridden Definitly Red who is now recognised as one of the best staying handicap chasers in the country.

Leading British and Irish trainers now very much have the Hillhouse Quarry Chase in their sights as they plan their season.