Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Elliott's Grey heads market for Scottish Grand National

Neptune Collonges and Tony McCoy will attempt to defy top weight in tomorrow's Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

Paul Nicholls' 10-year-old will concede over a stone all round after Tidal Bay's defection. Nicholls also runs The Minack (10st 1lb), the mount of Ruby Walsh. Alan King's Blazing Bailey is next in the weights behind Neptune Collonges, with Cheltenham Festival winner Chicago Grey on 10st 9lb.

Gordon Elliott's charge -- the 4/1 favourite with the sponsors -- is one of only two Irish raiders, with Charlie Swan's Long Strand set to compete from way out of the handicap.

Tim Vaughan's Beshabar, second to Chicago Grey at Cheltenham, Midlands National winner Minella Four Star and Fair Along are the only other runners in the handicap proper.

Meanwhile, Meath jockey Peter Toole is no longer in a medically-induced coma as he continues to recover from his fall at Aintree on Grand National day.

The 22-year-old suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain when Classic Fly fell during the Maghull Novices' Chase and is currently in the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Doctors have taken Toole off the medication that was keeping him in a coma and are now waiting for him to come round naturally.

Toole is attached to Charlie Mann's yard in Lambourn and the trainer said yesterday: "He's not in a medically-controlled coma now. Something will happen sooner or later, it's just a case of when."

Amateur rider Richard Hawkins is reported to have made some progress in his recovery from a fall at Taunton and is now breathing without the aid of a ventilator.

Hawkins lost consciousness when parting company with Tiger Dream in a selling handicap hurdle on Tuesday.

Paul Moloney, meanwhile, is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a back injury in a fall at Southwell on Wednesday. The jockey was partnering odds-on favourite Get It On for boss Evan Williams in the two-mile novice hurdle when he crashed out at the sixth flight.

Moloney is unsure when he will return to action. "I won't be riding for a couple of days at least and we'll just have to see how it goes," he said.

Irish Independent

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