Sunday 18 March 2018

Godsmejudge delivers sweet verdict for King

Godsmejudge wins the Scottish Grand National
Godsmejudge wins the Scottish Grand National

Godsmejudge became the youngest horse since 2001 to win the Scottish Grand National when running out an emphatic winner of the Ayr marathon.

The seven-year-old, sent off a 12/1 shot, emulated Gingembre 12 years ago to show older rivals a clean pair of heels when galloping to a four-length verdict over Midlands National hero Big Occasion (12/1). Mister Marker (25/1) was nine lengths away third with Tour Des Champs (25/1) fourth. Aintree National hero Auroras Encore failed to emulate Red Rum and complete the big race double, eventually being pulled up by Ryan Mania.

Godsmejudge's win was a fitting success for Scottish-born trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson, who has proved an able deputy for injured stable jockey Robert Thornton.

The favourite Rival D'Estruval also failed to last the course and was pulled up.

"He was fantastic, he got into a great rhythm," Hutchinson said of the winner. "He didn't enjoy the hustle and bustle early on, but he found his gear and gave me a fantastic ride.

"All credit to the boss, the horses have been in fantastic form and I've been lucky enough to sit on them. What a way to top off the season."

King was clearly emotional after the race. "I'm very proud. I think this means as much as any of the wins I have had," he said. "I'm speechless. I worked across the road years ago, I know the area very well and it's like coming home."

Meanwhile, jockeys Timmy Murphy and Tom Scudamore were taken to hospital after suffering falls at Ayr.

Murphy had a suspected broken wrist following his tumble from Ifandbutwhynot at the final flight in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle won by 4/1 shot Court Minstrel for trainer Evan Williams.

Scudamore was concussed after being unshipped from Problema Tic in the big race. He went to hospital to be checked over. Scudamore had been in the winner's enclosure after the previous race when steering Conquisto to victory in the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase.

At home, high-class sprinter Maarek returned to winning ways with victory in the Woodlands Stakes at Naas.

Winner of five starts last season, including the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot, the David Nagle-trained six-year-old relished the testing conditions as he burst through inside the final furlong.

Scream Blue Murder ran a big race in second behind the Seamie Heffernan-ridden 5/2 favourite, with Red Dubawi third. Last year's Dewhurst runner-up Leitir Mor showed up well for a long way on his first start since October.

"I was a bit surprised by that – to tell the truth I thought he'd badly need the run," said Nagle. "He's a bit special on that ground. While with other horses it slows them down, with him it quickens him up."

Irish Independent

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