Godsmejudge wins Scottish Grand National
Ryan Mania and Aintree winner Auroras Encore hampered after near fall at the second fence
Godsmejudge ridden by Wayne Hutchinson clears the last to win the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Steeple Chase at Ayr Racecourse. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Godsmejudge took the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase under a bold ride by Wayne Hutchinson.
Alan King's string have hit form as the season has started to draw to a close but having suffered the misfortune of losing a number of their star performers through injury, the Scots-born trainer secured another big pot courtesy of the 12/1 chance.
Racing prominently to the pace paid dividends as the pacesetters largely managed to avoid the trouble than ensued towards the rear of field.
The seven-year-old was booted into the lead on the final circuit by Hutchinson and having got to the front, he produced a number of spectacular leaps to take victory.
Midlands National winner Big Occasion ran on to be second with Mister Marker third and Tour Des Champs fourth.
Favourite, Rival D'Estruval never looked to be travelling at any stage and was pulled up by Richie McGrath.
Auroras Encore was attempting to be the first horse since Red Rum to do the Aintree / Ayr double in the same year, but having survived a bad mistake in the early stages, he faded out of contention and was pulled up on the final circuit.
Hutchinson said: "He was fantastic, he got into a great rhythm. 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. He jumped to the front at the second-last down the back and the race was falling away.
"When I needed him up the straight, for a little horse he is like a rubber ball. He was game all the way up the run-in."
An emotional King said: "I'm very proud. I think this means as much as any of the wins I have had. I'm speechless. I worked across the road years ago, I know the area very well and it's like coming home. I was so pleased when he jumped to the front down the back as he likes to be up there and can get intimidated. Wayne gave him a super ride."
Ryan Mania, the rider of the Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore, said the Aintree hero struggled to be competitive after being badly hampered at the second fence.
"He was nearly brought down at the second and then he made a bad mistake later on and dropped back. He could never really get back into it," he said. "The main thing is that he has come out of the race well and he's done us proud. The ground wasn't as suitable for him as it was at Aintree."