Joe Farrell rescues Rebecca Curtis's season with thrilling Scottish National win

Sat 21 Apr 2018

Watch a full replay of the Coral Scottish Grand National won by Joe Farrell and Gordon Brown's interview with winning connections and read our report below.

Joe Farrell repelled the late challenge of Ballyoptic to win the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

Sent off a 33-1 chance in the hands of Adam Wedge, the Rebecca Curtis-trained winner dug deep on the run to the line with just a nose separating the two runners after four miles of racing.

Leading fancy Vintage Clouds was to the fore throughout and he assumed control of matters with five to jump, but Wedge was tracking his move aboard Joe Farrell and eased into second on jumping the next fence.

With momentum in his favour, Wedge committed for home with three to jump and as Vintage Clouds began to toil, Ballyoptic hit top stride for Tom Bellamy.

Switched for his challenge after the last, Ballyoptic tried his best to reel in the winner, but Joe Farrell, who was getting a stone from the runner-up, clung on at the line.

Vintage Clouds claimed third with Doing Fine third while 7-1 favourite Fagan was never sighted for Gordon Elliott.

Wedge said: "He stuck his head out like an absolute lion for me after the last.

"I could feel Tom Bellamy (on Ballyoptic) getting to me all the way, but he's tried his heart out.

"The mistake at the last fence didn't stop him. I was going to take a pull, but he's taken it on. Fair play to him, he knew better than me."

This has been a tough time for the Pembrokeshire handler, who was saddling just her 25th runner in 2018.

Joe Farrell was her ninth winner going back to May last year and with a single stroke she won more prize-money at the Scottish course on the day (£122,442.50) than she has for the entire 2017-2018 National Hunt season (£100,705)

"We've had a difficult season," Curtis said.

"I thought it was a big ask. He's still a novice for a big race like that, but I knew he'd stay all day.

"He wanted a bit better ground, so that was brilliant.

"It's my first time in Scotland.

"He idled at the end in front. If he'd have got beaten on the line, I'd have been gutted. Watching it, I thought he had held on - I hoped he had.

"I own a quarter of him. I bought him quite cheaply out of John Ferguson's sale. He had broken down on both his front legs. I took a chance with him and thankfully he's won a big race. It's all paid off."

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