There was a momentous home result to the Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday as Lucinda Russell’s Mighty Thunder overhauled the favourite Dingo Dollar to become the first Scottish-trained winner of the event in nine years.
Trainer Sandy Thomson looked to hold the aces heading into the home straight as his pair Dingo Dollar and The Ferry Master kicked clear of the field. However, the pack were closing steadily and as they came to the penultimate fence, The Ferry Master had cried enough to leave Mighty Thunder and Mister Fogpatches to lay down the strongest challenge. Dingo Dollar still doggedly held the advantage over the final fence but Mighty Thunder had the better momentum and galvanised by Tom Scudamore, swooped past the leader for a three-quarter of a length success.
It was the eighth win in 26 starts for the eight-year-old Mighty Thunder, whose productive first season over fences also consists of a 20-length win in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh in February.
“He bucked just as the tapes went up which wasn’t ideal and from there it was hard work but look, he knew where the winning line was!” Scudamore explained to ITV Racing. “It’s been a great couple of weeks for the team with a Group 1 at Aintree [Ahoy Senor].
“You have to feel sorry for Blair [Campbell] as he would have ridden him if he hadn’t been hurt. But he has a very nice horse to look forward to, one for all those nice staying chasers.”
Mighty Thunder was bred in Britain by C And Mrs Wilson while his sire Malinas stood at Yorton Farm and Stud. The son of Lomitas now stands at Glenview Stud in Ireland.
Mulholland’s long trip worthwhile
County Hurdle third Milkwood returned to winning ways when storming clear for an impressive success in the Group 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle.
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies left it late to challenge on the gelding, travelling sweetly up in behind the leader Anna Bunina as they headed to the final flight before quickening clear in style for a near four-length win.
It made the six-hour trip from Bath worth the while for trainer Neil Mullholland, as he explained to ITV Racing.
“He’s had a great year,” he said. “It’s fantastic for everybody. It’s Sam’s first ride on him, he’s watched all the videos and it’s fantastic it all went to plan.
“This was always Plan A after such a good run at Ffos Las in the Welsh Champion [when fourth to Sceau Royal]. Cheltenham was a great fact-finding mission as he handled the undulations so well but today was always the plan and he won well.”
Meanwhile, flamboyant novice chaser Allmankind made all to run out the easy winner of the Group 2 Future Champion Novices’ Chase.
Bar a scare when taking a chance down the back, the son of Sea The Moon was always in control and wasn’t extended to win his fourth race of the campaign by 19 lengths.