Takingrisks Stuns Punters by Winning Scottish Grand National


It’s Grand National season at the moment and there was a surprise result in the Coral Scottish Grand National, with Takingrisks obliging at odds of 25/1 despite blundering at the very first fence.

The Ayr spectacular is always eagerly anticipated, with the ten-year-old recovering quickly from an opening mistake to get himself into the race under the stewardship of Sean Quinlan.

The Nicky Richards-trained charge showed excellent stamina over the four-mile course and was able to fend off the challenge of Crosspark, while Cloth Cap and Blue Flight were able to run into the places.

After Tiger Roll had delighted backers by winning the Grand National at Aintree, the bookmakers were relieved that they weren’t forced into another bumper payout on Saturday.

Vintage Clouds was sent off as the 5/1 favourite and the horse where the biggest liabilities were stacked up, although the Sue Smith-trained charge wasn’t able to jump at his fluent best at Ayr.

The market leader was able to stay in the chasing pack until the final few fences where several horses were able to outpace him, although some bookmakers paid down to six places which meant great news for each-way backers of the favourite.

It was an emotional day for Nicky Richards, who won the Scottish Grand National a full fifty years after his father had managed to do the same with a horse called Playlord.

Richards’ father won the race for second time with a horse called Four Trix in 1990, with Richards Jnr lost for words when interviewed after the race although he was soon gushing in his praise for the horse.

Richards said: “He won it twice and I’ve followed up so it’s great. This was always going to be the race for Takingrisks, if he had a big one in him. I just need to find another now to match father.”

Jockey Quinlan also spoke to the media after the race and confirmed that the horse had been jolted going over the first fence, with his chances nearly scuppered shortly after the race had begun.

"At the first, he got banged into, and I thought all chances had gone," Quinlan told BBC Sport.

"It was just fear keeping me on - I was hanging out of the back door and praying to God that he'd keep me on. He travelled superbly - he's just jumped and travelled - he's very tough, especially for a veteran.

"When we hit the line and had won, you fill up inside - it was emotional. I don't get very emotional but to win a prestigious race like this is probably going to be the highlight of my career."

The Ayr clerk of the course was forced to defend himself after the race, with the drying ground suggesting that the going should have been declared as firm.

Graeme Anderson was unfortunate to witness strong winds and sunshine that turned the ground to a fast track ahead of the big race in Scotland, with several trainers opting against running their horses only to find the ground had been different to what had been expected.

He said: "I spoke to jockeys who had mixed feedback, some saying it was dead, watered ground and others saying it was quickening up. So I left the going unchanged before the opened-up ground dried out and the time showed it was drying up.

"We didn't want patchy ground so did the full circuit and stopped at about 9am which was unfortunately four and a half hours before racing and conditions were very windy with sunshine.

"It dried up even quicker after the ground was opened up with racing."

Some trainers were left frustrated, including Michael Scudamore. He had previously withdrawn Mysteree and Kingswell Theatre because the supposedly “good” ground was deemed to be slow to connections.

"Horse welfare is a hot topic and the ground is the most important factor in that concern," said Scudamore.

"It was frustrating to go all that way, but I spoke to my brother Tom after he rode in the first and he said it was 'good to firm' all over.

"But I have a bit of sympathy for Ayr as it must be very hard for them at this time of year with the wind and sun."