The Scottish Grand National - A Proper Premier Raceday

Features | 19th April 2024

The top jumps trainers from both sides of the Irish Sea will converge on Ayr this weekend for the two-day Coral Scottish Grand National meeting

Added Significance

A total of £500,000 in prize money is up for grabs on Saturday – Scotland’s richest raceday – and that will have a significant impact on the race to be champion trainer.

Willie Mullins jumped to the top of the table when I Am Maximus won last week’s Randox Grand National at Aintree.

He is aiming to become the first Irish trainer to win the prestigious title since Vincent O’Brien 70 years ago. If the entries are anything to go by, it looks like he will be sending a strong team to Ayr.

Recent Fairyhouse winner Macdermott heads his six entries in the Coral Scottish Grand National. Mr Incredible, who unseated Brian Hayes at The Chair in the Grand National, is another Mullins possible.

The Irish champion trainer also has four options in the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle, as well as a raft of other entries across the two days as he throws his considerable strength at his title challenge.

Dan Skelton and reigning champ Paul Nicholls both remain hot on Mullins’ heels. They have made plenty of entries for Ayr’s big meeting, including in the feature race. 

It should add huge interest in what promises to be a thrilling climax to the jumps season, which ends at Sandown next Saturday (27 April).

Willie Mullins will be hoping he can extend his lead in the Trainers' Title Races

Big Names

This year marks 50 years since Aintree legend Red Rum became the first horse to win the Grand National and the Scottish version in the same year.

That record still stands, although both Little Polvier and Earth Summit did the double with their wins in the two great marathon chases coming in separate seasons.

Last year, South Wales trainer Christian Williams’ Kitty’s Light landed the Scottish National in the middle leg of a remarkable treble. His emotional Ayr victory was sandwiched by wins in Newcastle’s Eider Chase and the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on the final day of the season.

Among the runners looking to add their name to the Scottish National trophy in this year’s race could be Mr Vango.

He finished third behind Corbetts Cross in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival just a couple of weeks after his trainer, Mark Bradstock, passed away.

True Scottish Heritage

This historic contest was first run in 1858 at a course at Houston, to the west of Glasgow. It moved to Bogside Racecourse, 10 miles north of Ayr, nine years later.

It remained at the coastal track until the course was closed in 1965. The Scottish National was first run at Ayr the following year.

The four-mile contest is now the highlight of the Scottish jumps racing year. The meeting attracts a bumper crowd and the popular west coast track puts on plenty of entertainment to compliment the excellent racing.

The feature day on Friday’s card is the £50,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap chase and serves as a tasty appetiser to the main course on Saturday.

The big day has always been an important occasion for Scottish racing fans. With the three-way battle for the trainers’ title, the not-to-be-missed race takes on even more significance this year.