What's On This Week? - Scottish Grand National

Features | 18th April 2023

After three superb days at Aintree, the focus turns north of the border this week for Ayr’s Coral
Scottish Grand National meeting

Lucinda At The Double?

The two-day fixture is the highlight of the jump racing calendar in Scotland, with the big race taking place on Saturday. Lucinda Russell could be double handed after winning the world’s most famous race with Corach Rambler at the weekend. She has 2021 winner Mighty Thunder and consistent Your Own Story entered in the four-mile marathon. 

Christian Williams will be looking to take the prestigious trophy back to his south Wales stables for the second successive year. His hope Kitty’s Light has followed a similar pace to last year’s winner Win My Wings as both horses won the Eider Chase en route to Ayr. The supporting races include the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle and the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase. Both are Grade 2 prizes. The meeting kicks off on Friday with the annual ‘Ladies’ Day’ event centred around a seven-race card.

Rich History

Ayr has been hosting the Scottish National meeting since the historic race was transferred from Bogside when the nearby track was closed in 1965. It has been won by some of the greats of the sport. Red Rum claimed victory in 1974, shortly after winning the second of his three Grand Nationals. He remains the only horse to have completed the impressive double victory in the same season. 

Cheltenham also holds its two-day April fixture this week. The Grade 2 Matt Hampson Foundation Silver Trophy is Wednesday’s feature, with the mares taking centre stage on a seven-race card restricted to female horses.

Flat Stars

The Flat season also cranks up another gear this week with the start of the Classic trials. Newmarket’s three-day bet365 Craven Meeting starts on Tuesday when the feature race is the Group 3 bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes for four-year-olds and upwards. The Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes is the highlight of Wednesday’s card when 1000 Guineas hopefuls will battle it out for the Group 3 prize. It was won last year by Cachet. She went on to land the 1000 Guineas three weeks later. 

The colts get their chance to push their Classic prospects in the bet365 Craven Stakes on Thursday. Native Trail gave Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby his second successive victory in the race 12 months ago before going on to finish runner-up in the 2000 Guineas behind stablemate Coroebus. Appleby also won the Craven in 2018 with subsequent Derby hero Masar. This year he has recent Meydan winner Naval Power and Canadian Grade 1 winner Mysterious Night entered in the mile contest. 

The Guineas trials roll on to Newbury at the weekend. Last year’s Dewhurst winner Chaldean is expected to make his return to action in the Group 3 Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes. The three-year-old fillies get their chance to push their 1000 Guineas claims in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes, while a big field is likely to be assembled for the Betgoodwin Spring Cup. It all adds up to an action-packed week of racing not to be missed with something for everything.