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Nicky Richards struck a blow for the north in the Coral Scottish Grand National on Saturday when Takingrisks, given a super cool ride from Sean Quinlan, won the £122,500 first prize in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,500.
The Penrith based trainer is one of the most loyal supporters of Ayr during the jumps season and he followed his father Gordon , who trained Scottish National winners Playlord (1969) and Four Trix (1990), into the history books.
He said afterwards : “It was great for racing in the north. Takingrisks is owned by Frank Bird who is one of the biggest poultry farmers in the country and is based near our yard. He is a great owner r and just lets me get on with it.”
Jockey Sean Quinlan’s aim at the start of the season was to ride 50 winners and Takingrisks gave him his 54th win, he said : “Things have gone well for me since teaming up with agent Richard Hales and today was by far my biggest win.
“It’s one of the top jumps races and is easily the pinnacle of my career.”
Takingrisks blundered at the first but recovered well from that and travelled well into the race and caught the eye from four out and drew clear on the run in to win by four lengths from Crosspark, trained by Caroline Bailey, with Cloth Cap in third and Blue Flight fourth.
Connor Brace, a 17 year-old conditional jockey was another rider claiming his biggest ever success when steering Verdan Blue to victory in the CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle for trainer Nicky Henderson.
This was a tremendous performance as he pulled seven lengths clear of Dino Velvet and a trip to the Punchestown Festival could be on the cards next.
There was a double on the day for trainer Dan Skelton and his jockey brother Harry when they teamed up to win the first two races on the card – the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase, Listed race, with Azzuri and the J & D Pierce Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase with Molly The Dolly.
The Jordan Electrics Future Champion Chase went to Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden with Secret Investor.
THE penultimate Flat meeting of the season at Ayr takes place today (Tuesday) with October Raceday featuring an exciting eight race card with more than 90 runners competing.READ MORE
Progress Drive was the star of the show as the snow came down at Ayr Racecourse yesterday winning the feature race, the totetrifecta Chase over three miles.READ MORE