Iris De Balme Bags Shock Scottish National Win
1st 22 Iris De Balme 66/1
Iris De Balme produced an extraordinary performance to land the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.
Racing from almost two stone out of the handicap, the Sean Curran-trained eight-year-old was an unconsidered 66-1 chance but was almost running away with Charlie Huxley at the last as he streaked clear of gallant top-weight Halcon Genelardais.
Fourteen lengths was the margin of victory at the end of the four-mile marathon, with Halcon Genelardais another two and a quarter lengths in front of Flintoff. Old Benny, the 4-1 favourite, was fourth after being far from fluent throughout.
Huxley said: "To be fair, the horse has jumped me into the race. I saw 'Choc' (Robert Thornton) come off the bridle (on Halcon Genelardais) and I thought it was time to kick on. He's a class horse, a class jumper - absolutely super."
Former jockey-turned-trainer Curran added: "I've been training 18 months. I rode in the race a couple of years ago, but I was more nervous watching than riding!"
Curran, who has ridden more than 100 winners and still holds a jockey's licence, went on: "He has done it really well, but I didn't think he would come and win this like he did from out of the handicap.
"He is the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown next week - he's out of the handicap again but he might as well take his chance before the handicapper gets a hold of him."
Curran plans to return to the saddle at Plumpton on Monday and added: "I will keep riding as long as I enjoy it and take things as they come."
Alan King, trainer of the runner-up and the fourth, said: "I was very proud of my two horses. Halcon ran a great race under his big weight, Choc (Thornton) and I walked the course and thought it (the ground) would be OK. Old Benny has run a smashing race too, although the ground might have dried up too much for him."
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