FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

The cream of jumps racing talent - horses, trainers and jockeys head to Ayr in April for two days of high quality racing.

There is something for all national hunt aficionados – Scotland’s richest race, one of the country’s leading handicap hurdles and a couple of mouth watering novice chases plus much more.

These are the top races that make the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival so special…

 

Top Races

Class 1 Grade 3 Coral Scottish Grand National

Jockey Tom Scudamore lifting the cup after winning the Coral Scottish Grand National on Mighty Thunder

The Coral Scottish Grand National, Class 1, Grade 3

The Coral Scottish Grand National is simply the most valuable and most prestigious jumps race in Scotland which attracts a sell-out crowd to the track every April and is also the fourth biggest race in the UK in terms of betting turnover.

Run over four miles with 27 fences to negotiate up to 30 runners take part making this one of the great spectacles in British horse racing and in addition to the huge crowd on track more than a million viewers watch the Coral Scottish Grand National live on ITV.

The winner of the 2021 renewal was Mighty Thunder giving both trainer Lucinda Russell and jockey Tom Scudamore their first successes in the race.

In what was a terrific finish Mighty Thunder just got the better of Dingo Dollar in the final 100 yards to win by three quarters of a length.

Mighty Thunder joins the list of winners of this famous race which famously includes Red Rum  who in 1974 became the first horse ever to win the Grand National at Aintree and the Scottish Grand National in the same year.

Class 1 Grade 2 Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle

Trainer Neil Mulholland claimed victory with Milkwood in the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle.

Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle, Class 1, Grade 2

The Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle is one of the very top two mile handicap hurdles in the country and as such attracts large fields with runners from most of the leading trainers including Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, Paul Nicholls, Alan King and Sue Smith.

The 2021 running was again a first class contest with trainer Neil Mulholland’s Milkwood cruising into the home straight and powering clear of the opposition to cross the line three and three quarter lengths in front of Irish raider Anna Bunina.

Quality prevails in this race and previous winners include such racing legends as Night Nurse who won in 1976, Sea Pigeon who triumphed in both 1977 and 1978 and the 1996 winner Alderbrook.

This truly is a fantastic race to savour and one that never disappoints.

 

Class 2 CPMS Novices' Championship Handicap Chase

One More Fleurie taking the final fence to win the Novices’ Championship Handicap Chase

CPMS Novices' CHAMPIONSHIP Handicap Chase, Class 2

Run for the first time in 2018 this novices chase is very much an integral part of Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday.

Crosshue Boy became the first winner with young Harley Dunne riding for Sean Doyle and the following year the honours went to the exciting mare Molly The dolly.

The 2021 winner was One More Fleurie who made the long trip from Ian Williams’ Worcestershire yard pay off with a six and a half length win over Mac Tottie.

Class 1 Grade 2 Jordan Electrics Future Champion Chase

Allmankind takes the win for the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champions Chase

JORDAN ELECTRICS LTD FUTURE CHAMPION NOVICES’ CHASE, CLASS 1, GRADE 2

One of the longest running races at Ayr the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Chase is run just before the Coral Scottish Grand National and is a showcase for exciting young chasers.

The Grade 2 contest was turned into a procession in 2021 when the Dan Skelton trained Allmankind made all and impressed by winning by a massive 19 lengths. He looks as if he will shape into one of the classiest chasers of his generations.

Nicky Richards is a trainer who has a fine record in this having saddled the brilliant grey Monet’s Garden to win in 2001 and Eduard in 2014.

Grey Abbey won the Future Champion Chase in 2001 and three years later captured the Scottish Grand National.

Class 1 Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

Nico de Boinville rode Theinval to success in the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase Listed Race.

SCOTTY BRAND HANDICAP CHASE, Class 1 Listed race

This Listed contest is the opening race on Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday and is normally a hotly contested chase over two miles.

The latest running of the race saw Theinval emulate his success of 2018 for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville. Having run just 24 hours earlier (something he also did three years earlier) he was going easily throughout and crossed the line three lengths clear of his nearest rival.

Connections retired Theinval in the aftermath of the race allowing him to go out on a high having won more than £230,000 in career prizemoney.

Other notable winners of this race include Azzuri (2019), Duke Of Navan (2015) and Raya Star (2012).

 

Class 1 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase

Jonathan Burke wins on Nietzsche in the Hillhouse Quarry Chase Listed Race

HILLHOUSE QUARRY HANDICAP CHASE, Class 1 Listed Race

Friday’s feature race is a fantastic spectacle – a Listed handicap chase over the 2m 4f trip which over the years has attracted some real quality horses.

The 2021 running saw Nietzsche from the Brian Ellison yard and ridden by Jonathan Burke just hold off Not That Fuisse by a neck and deny that horse’s trainer Dan Skelton a fourth successive victory in the race having previously won with Born Survivor (2019), Value At Risk (2018) and Two Taffs (2017).

Sponsored by Hillhouse Quarry, the longest running sponsor at the track, this contest attracts runners from top trainers including Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Nicky Richards and of course Dan Skleton and is a true Friday highlight.

Class 2  Coral Backing Scottish Racing Mares' Handicap Hurdle

Didonato wins the Coral Backing Scottish Racing Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

CORAL BACKING SCOTTISH RACING mares' Handicap Hurdle, Class 2

This is the second most valuable race run on the opening day of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and is a three mile handicap hurdle for mares.

And it’s fitting that on Coral Scottish Grand National Ladies Day we have a contest that attracts some top mares.

The Irish have a good record in the race having won with Jenny’s Melody in 2015 and 2017 and Yeats Baby in 2019.  

In 2021 Southern based Scottish trainer Alan King saddled the six year old Didonato to win from Aurora Thunder.