Scottish Grand National
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Scottish Grand National 2019 Stats and Trends Guide

| 01.04.2019

The Scottish Grand National has been running for over 100 years, with the first race taking place way back in 1867.

The race has changed and moved venue, settling in to its current home at Ayr in 1966.

This year’s Scottish Grand National will take place at Ayr on Saturday 13th April.

Run over 3m 7f, the runners and riders tackle 27 fences and is the showpiece event of Ayr’s two-day Scottish Grand National festival meeting.

Several horses have won both the Scottish Grand National and the English counterpart, but only the legendary Red Rum in 1974 has ever achieved the feat in the same year.


Younger horses tend to thrive in the Scottish Grand National. Nine of the last 11 winners have been aged nine years or younger.

Only two 11-year-olds have won since 2006, while no 10-year-old has won since Run for Paddy in 2006.

Just one 12-year-old has ever won the Scottish Grand National. Willsford became the oldest ever winner when succeeding in 1995 for Jenny Pitman.

Coincidentally, one year earlier, Earth Summit became the youngest winner. He remains the only six-year-old to win the Grand National, doing so for Nigel Twiston-Davies.


Scottish Grand National winners tend to come in a weight bracket between 10-00 and 11-03. Eight of the last 10 winners have come in within these weights.

No horse weighing less than 10-00 has won the race since Iris de Balme, while Vicente’s win in 2017 at 11-10 was the heaviest since Grey Abbey in 2004.

Playlord in 1969 is the heaviest ever winner of the Scottish Grand National (raced at Ayr) at 12-00, while the lightest winner is Iris de Balme in 2008.


Plenty of familiar names have tasted success in the Scottish Grand National. Peter Scudamore won twice aboard Little Polveir in 1987 and Captain Dibble in 1992.

AP McCoy steered Belmont King to glory in 1997, while Ruby Walsh won the 2002 Scottish Grand National with Take Control.

In recent years, both Timmy Murphy and Sam Twiston-Davies have become two-time winners. Murphy did so with Merigo in 2010 and 2012, while Twiston-Davies secured back-to-back wins with Vicente in 2016 and 2017.


Nigel Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls have enjoyed plenty of Scottish Grand National success.

The former trained winners Captain Dibble in 1992, Earth Summit in 1994 and Hello Bud in 2009. Nicholls’ first win came with AP McCoy and Belmont King in 1997, before a double win with Vicente in 2016 and 2017.

Martin Pipe is also a two-time winning trainer, with Run for Free in 1993 and Take Control nine years later.

But the most successful trainers in Scottish Grand National history are Neville Crump and Ken Oliver.

Previous winners

Joe Farrell caused a stir to win at odds of 33/1 in 2018 to beat one of the pre-race favourites in Ballyoptic by a nose.

Vicente is something of a legend when it comes to the Scottish Grand National. Paul Nicholls’ runner came good for backers at 14/1 when winning for the first time in 2016.

And Vicente did the business again a year later, when going off as 9/1 joint favourite to beat Cogry by a neck.

Wayward Prince was a 25/1 winner in 2015, with Al Co an even longer shot at 40/1 in 2014.

But arguably the most famous winner of the Scottish Grand National is Earth Summit. The bay gelding won the race in 1994, before then winning the Welsh National in 1997 and finally the Grand National in 1998 to complete a unique and as-yet unmatched treble.


The Scottish Grand National has seen all kinds of winners over the years, from big favourites to unknown long shots.

Vicente is one of the shortest-priced winners of recent times. The Paul Nicholls’ raider was reigning champion in 2017, and came good on joint favouritism of 9/1.

But just three years earlier, Al Co backers were celebrating after their pick romped home at a much larger 40/1.

But that pales in comparison to Iris de Balme’s win in 2008. The eight-year-old streaked clear of the pack in the final lengths to produce a remarkable 66/1 success.


Recent stats suggest that experience is key if you want to win the Scottish Grand National.

Six of the last seven winners had run at least 14 times prior to their Grand National victory. And six of those – Joe Farrell – Vicente, Godsmejudge, Wayward Prince, Merigo and Beshabar, had run within in March ahead of the Grand National.

2015 winner Wayward Prince went down a different path, running three times in the two months prior to Ayr.

Of the last five winners, Al Co is the anomaly, having had a four-month rest before storming to victory in 2014.

Beshabar is the only winner in since 2010 to have had fewer than 14 previous runs, with 11.

Each of the last eight winners have gone off with an official rating between 134 and 146.



Richard Marsh