Vicente makes amends to land Scottish double
Vicente joined the list of dual Coral Scottish Grand National winners after getting up in the final stride at Ayr yesterday.
A faller at the first in the Aintree National two weeks ago, he could be spotted travelling noticeably well on the final circuit as Sam Twiston-Davies nudged him into contention.
It was Twiston-Davies' father, Nigel, who looked to have the race won with Cogry which went clear under Jamie Bargary despite only finishing second in the West Wales National six days ago.
But as the pair duelled for the line, Vicente (9/1 joint-favourite), which was bought by Trevor Hemmings before Aintree as a replacement for the ill-fated Many Clouds, prevailed by a neck.
Twiston-Davies snr was also third with the veteran Benbens, with Alvarado placed in the race again in fourth.
"Paul (Nicholls) had him primed for the National, but sadly it didn't go to plan so he said he'd bring him here and it's worked out great," said the winning rider. "He's a very brave horse, he's tried very hard and saved my day.
"Paul is one of the best trainers in the country, it doesn't matter what standard of horse we've got, he finds a way to win with them."
Twiston-Davies and Nicholls were only narrowly touched off in the Scottish Champion Hurdle with Zubayr, and with Nicky Henderson's lead in the British trainers' championship now under £200,000, that valuable prize could look crucial next week.
Nicholls said: "Of course we can still win it, but everything will need to go right and we've had a couple of results today, like Zubayr, which would have made a difference. Luck hasn't been with Sam today.
"Nicky's had a fantastic season with his Grade One horses, and so have we - we won't give up until the last day.
"Sam is part of a big team, we've got a lot of good jockeys and he heads them, he'll be with us a long time."
Hemmings said: "I just need to win the Irish and the Welsh now.
"I bought him because we lost Many Clouds and I didn't have a runner in the National."
Hemmings, who has won three Grand Nationals at Aintree with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds, added: "Vicente only came because he fell in the big one at Aintree and he was already entered. Sam kept the ride because he'd won on him previously.
"We went with lady luck and the answer was conclusive.
"Sam might have only just got there, but that was enough!
"When they win like that it's an excitement you can't really explain to anyone else, it's happening to you.
"I'm sure we'll head back to Aintree next year but obviously I'll listen to my trainer, if I hadn't we wouldn't be here today.
"This compares to winning at Aintree, anything when you have success around it always is great."
Gold Cup-winning jockey Nico de Boinville was taken to hospital for assessment after a first-fence fall from Sugar Baron.
Sunday Indo Sport