In the shadow of last week's grand national, we had the Scottish national this weekend over in Ayr. Kinross trainer, Lucinda Russell sent out a force to be reckoned with, including co-favourite Green Flag, Nuts N Bolts & Lie Forrit. They were up against it with the likes of Nicholls' Sam Winner & Tidal Bay. Henderson sent out Roberto Goldback & Alan King reportedly had last year's winner, Godsmejudge ticking over nicely again. Battlegroup also in the line up after refusing to race in the Aintree Grand National, again, didn't set off with the rest but went eventually, only to be pulled up. Al Co lead two from home & showed no signs of slowing, chased by Green Flag, Trustan Times & Godsmejudge. Green Flag faded fast as Jonjo's Merry King took up fourth place. Last year's winner presented a challenge staying on well at the run in, but Al Co had done enough as the line came. Jamie Moore put in a tough shift after almost being unseated just yards from the finish but was rewarded for holding on. Al Co's trainer, Peter Bowen said of his winner "he was in the best form we've ever had him" he will now be geared towards next year's Aintree Grand National.
Nicky Henderson sent his Champion Hurdle runner up, My Tent Or Yours to take on the Scottish Champion Hurdle. My Tent Or Yours was fitted with a hood & ear plugs to try & stop him pulling so hard during races. Quickly into odd's on with some firms, from evens which was quite surprising considering the talent in the field. Sam Twiston-Davies to an early lead on Barizan & set a decent pace. My Tent Or Yours sat in the middle of the pack, patiently ridden by A P McCoy before being pushed to contest with the leaders in third. Approaching the last MTOY lead, at this point it looked like he was going seal the deal but when asked for more, it never really came. As Swing Bowler, Court Minstrel & My Tent Or Yours battled for the line, a perfectly timed, Rocket fuelled challenge was made by Dean Pratt on Cockney Sparrow. A visually thrilling finish from the mare to deny last year's winner, Court Minstrel & the Tent. A well deserved Scottish Hurdle champ. No doubt that run will leave Henderson no closer to finding the solution to the potential of his runner-up.
Over at Newbury highly fancied Kingman & Night Of Thunder stepped up to kick off their seasons respectively. Astaire took up the running under Kieren Fallon & settled quickly. Jim Crowley had a different task on Berkshire, who refused to settle quickly, but still managed to get into a decent position. After half way Fallon tried to extend his lead & begin to press for home. As the field began to take aim, James Doyle pressed the button on Kingman & that was that, as many lengths as you can count, Kingman put them behind him with a visually impressive win for Gosden. Kingman now goes 11/8 for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next month.