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Scottish Grand National - Sat April 21st 2012 

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Merigo Regains Scottish Grand National Crown
21/04/12

1 Merigo 15/2
2 Auroras Encore 25/1
3 King Fontaine 40/1
4 Ballyfitz 33/1
NR: Captain Americo (IRE)
24 ran Distances: hd, 15l, 9l
TIME 8m 4.30s (slow by 2.30s)

Cheers normally reserved for a Cup final winning goal echoed around Ayr Racecourse on Saturday afternoon when Merigo crossed the line a head in front of a gallant Auroras Encore in the Coral Scottish Grand National.

Merigo
© Grossick Racing Photography

Merigo

The gallant 11 year-old ridden by Timmy Murphy chased Auroras Encore up the home straight and was a length down jumping the last fence but rallied to mug Ryan Mania's mount as they passed the post.

It was a fitting finale to a great race and Merigo became the first horse since 1956 to win back the race having won it in 2010 and been runner up last year.

Tears flowed from an emotional owner Raymond Anderson Green accompanied by his wife Anita and daughter Verity wife of jockey Murphy.

Trainer Andrew Parker who is based in Eccelfechan near Dumfries summed it all up when he said : "That's eight times Merigo has run here and he's won five, been second twice and third once. He just comes alive here - he has the heart of a lion."

The well backed 15/2 shot even carried the support of First Minister Alex Salmond who quipped : "A Scottish winner of the National, the money is out of the bookies' satchels and the nation's finances have taken a turn for the better."

A crowd of 16,314 watched the action - the third highest attendance in 20 years and the sun shone the entire afternoon.

The chief supporting race, The Isle of Skye Blended Whisky Scottish Champion Hurdle went to Raya Star (15/2) in the hands of Robert 'Choc' Thornton who gave Alan King's horse a peach of a ride to win by three and a quarter lengths from Local Hero (11/1).

Leading owner Graham Wylie had a superb meeting with three winners on Saturday and one on Friday. His Saturday successes were Grandioso (5/1) in the opening hurdle race, Pacha Du Polder (11/4 fav) in the Arcadia Consulting Future Champion Novices Steeple Chase for the Vulmidas Cup and Doeslessthanme (100/3 fav) in the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase.

His Friday win came courtesy of The Knoxs (5/1), in the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase - the feature race of the day.

Largs owner Mrs Jo Tracey landed another Saturday highlight, The Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Chase with the David Pipe trained, Tom Scudamore ridden Problema Tic (6/1) and top trainer Nicky Henderson landed a double with Cucumber Run (10/1) and River Maigue (10/11 fav) both ridden by Barry Geraghty.

Ayr Racecourse Sales and Marketing supremo Lindsey Smith commented : "What a wonderful two days racing - everyone enjoyed the action and we had great crowds."

 

Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Merigo
A Parker
T J Murphy
10st 2lbs
15 - 2
Winner
2
Auroras Encore
Mrs S J Smith
Ryan Mania
10st 11lbs
25 - 1
Head
3
King Fontaine
J M Jefferson
Harry Haynes
10st 0lbs
40 - 1
15 lengths
4
Ballyfitz
N A Twiston-Davies
David England
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
9 lengths
5
Fruity O'Rooney
G L Moore
J E Moore
10st 13lbs
16 - 1
11 lengths
6
Garleton
M A Barnes
A L Voy
10st 8lbs
40 - 1
1 length
7
Pettifour
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
9 lengths
8
Any Currency
M Keighley
A P Cawley
10st 0lbs
25 - 1
7 lengths
9
Mac Aeda
J M Jefferson
R P McLernon
10st 0lbs
20 - 1
5 lengths
10
Portrait King
M Phelan
D F O'Regan
10st 8lbs
10 - 1
8 lengths
PulledUp
Junior
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 12lbs
14 - 1
PulledUp
Benny Be Good
K G Reveley
J Reveley
11st 3lbs
25 - 1
PulledUp
Walkon
A King
R Thornton
11st 2lbs
16 - 1
PulledUp
Knockara Beau
G A Charlton
Jan Faltejsek
11st 1lbs
11 - 1
PulledUp
Galaxy Rock
Jonjo O'Neill
A P McCoy
10st 12lbs
9 - 1
PulledUp
Harry The Viking
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
10st 11lbs
6 - 1
PulledUp
Ikorodu Road
M Sheppard
C Poste
10st 9lbs
12 - 1
PulledUp
Quentin Collonges
H D Daly
A Tinkler
10st 2lbs
8 - 1
PulledUp
Mostly Bob
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
10st 1lbs
25 - 1
PulledUp
Be There In Five
N J Henderson
Felix de Giles
10st 0lbs
16 - 1
PulledUp
Our Island
Tim Vaughan
D C Costello
10st 0lbs
22 - 1
PulledUp
Abbeybraney
G Bewley
Brian Harding
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
PulledUp
Etxalar
Miss Lucinda V Russell
C I Gillies
10st 0lbs
100 - 1
PulledUp
Heez A Steel
G A Charlton
P F Mangan
10st 0lbs
100 - 1
NonRunner
Captain Americo
J Ewart
R McGrath
10st 0lbs
-
       

 

Coral SGN Facts

  • The Scottish Grand National was first run as the West of Scotland Grand National at a course near Houston, Renfrewshire from 1858 until 1866
  • The course in 1858 consisted of 32 jumps, mostly stone walls
  • In 1867 after objections from the minister of the Free Kirk of Houston the race moved to Bogside, Irvine and was still known as the West of Scotland Grand National
  • The first winner at Bogside was The Elk, owned by the Duke of Hamilton and ridden by John Page
  • In 1869 Hunstman become the first and only Irish trained winner of the race
  • In 1880 the race title was changed to The Scottish Grand National and was won by Peacock
  • Charlie Cunningham, known as Scotland's greatest jockey, won the race four times in 1881, 1885, 1887 and 1889
  • The winning horse in 1867 won £100, increasing to £440 by 1906, £1030 ion 1950, £5,436 in 1963 and this year's top prize is £102,618
  • The first television coverage of the Scottish National was in 1953 on BBC and it was also shown in 1954 but then wasn't screened again until 1969 on ITV and it has been shown live ever since and moved to Channel 4 in 1986
  • In 1966 the race moved to Ayr when Bogside closed and the first winner was African Patrol trained at Selkirk by Bobby Fairbairn and ridden by Johnny Leech
  • Red Rum won the Scottish Grand National in 1974 just a couple of weeks after landing his second Aintree success
  • Five horses have won the race twice the most recent being Androma in 1984 and 1985
  • Richard Johnson has ridden in the race 13 times but never won, he has finished third on four occasions and fourth twice
  • Merigo became the first Scottish trained horse to win the race since Cockle Strand in 1982


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