Mighty Thunder storms home to win the Scottish Grand National while Lucinda Russell takes a look at Aintree next season
- Linda Russell also won the Grand National in 2017 with One For Arthur
- Tom Scudamore rode Mighty Thunder to victory in the absence of Blair Campbell
- Harry Skelton drove Allmankind to victory in the pursuit of Future Champions Novices
Lucinda Russell was dreaming of another Grand National tilt in Aintree next season after landing the Coral Scottish National with Mighty Thunder on Ayr yesterday.
Russell won the 2017 Grand National with One For Arthur, who retired last year. But in Mighty Thunder, the trainer has another talented fighter full of stamina in his hands.
The 8-1 shot beat Sandy Thomson-trained 7-1 favorite Dingo Dollar three quarters of a length and hit the front just after the final hurdle under a perfectly timed challenge from jockey Tom Scudamore.
Lucinda Russell (left) celebrates after Mighty Thunder won the Coral Scottish Grand National
Mighty Thunder is the first Scottish-trained winner of the biggest jump race north of the border since Merigo in 2012. It was a strong achievement for home jump racing with four of Scotland’s first five home-trained races.
The result was also quick compensation for Scudamore after he had to pull up his favorite cloth cap at the Grand National last weekend. But in celebrating her success, Russell spared a thought of Mighty Thunder’s regular jockey, Blair Campbell, who missed the ride due to a fracture of the hand.
“I know I won the Grand National, but I’ve always wanted to win the Scottish National,” said Russell. “I’m very happy, but I feel so sorry for Blair because he should be riding him. He will get the ride back next season. We have a number of great goals. ‘
Jockey Tom Scudamore rides Mighty Thunder to victory in the absence of Blair Campbell
Mighty Thunder, second in the Midlands National, will be tested at Aintree early next season. In-form Russell, who was a Grade One winner at Aintree’s Grand National meeting with Ahoy Senor, added, ‘Mighty Thunder has endless stamina.
“We’ll probably go for the Becher Chase (in December) and see if he goes to the fences. If he does, then that’s great. If he doesn’t, we’re aiming for the Scottish National again. ‘
On the way to fourth-last, it looked like Thomson was about to practice 1-2 when Dingo Dollar went clear with stablemate The Ferry Master. But they were closed inexorably by Mighty Thunder and the eventual third Mister Fogpatches.
Scudamore said, ‘He gave a penny when the band went up, which wasn’t ideal. It was hard work, but he knew where the winning line was. Champion jockey Brian Hughes was replaced on Dingo Dollar by Ryan Mania after his intended mount Vintage Clouds was a non-runner.
Harry Skelton won the Future Champions Novices’ Chase winner with Allmankind
And Hughes still left Ayr six times behind title rival Harry Skelton (146-140) after landing the Bumper at Vina Ardanza and Skelton winning the Future Champions Novices’ Chase at Allmankind.
With the title race ending in Sandown on Saturday, it’s hard to see a way back for Hughes.
Richard Hannon-trained Chindit is 12-1 ahead of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket two weeks on Saturday after jumping too late to win the Greenham Stakes in Newbury with a neck from Mehmento under Sean Levey.