Vicente wins Coral Scottish Grand National

Sam Twiston-Davies rides Vicente to victory in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Sam Twiston-Davies rides Vicente to victory in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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Vicente won the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr to put Paul Nicholls back on top in the race for the trainers’ championship.

Nicholls was trailing Willie Mullins by more than £130,000 before the start of play, but a four-timer at Ayr turned the tables.

The Ditcheat handler is back in the driving seat with one week left of the season thanks to Vivaldi Collonges (9-4 fav), Le Mercurey (11-2), Vicente (14-1) and Gibbes Bay (5-1) putting him £30,000 clear.

Mullins’ hopes of winning the Scottish National for Ireland ended as early as the third fence when Measureofmydreams crashed out.In the straight for the final time, it looked as though Seeyouatmidnight was going to strike for Scottish Borders trainer Sandy Thomson.

However, Vincente delivered with a perfectly timed run by Sam Twiston-Davies to lead after jumping the last and hold the late charge of Alvarado, with Seeyouatmidnight third and Royale Knight fourth.

Nicholls said: “That was a result. Brilliant ride, just we what we needed. It was perfect”

Twiston-Davies told Channel 4 Racing: “It worked out really nicely. He travelled well and he was good when he needed to be.”

Twiston-Davies was also aboard Le Mercurey (11-2), who floored Bristol De Mai by seven lengths in the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase.

Sean Bowen was in the saddle as Vivaldi Collonges defied top weight in the Weatherbys Private Bank Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Gibbes Bay (5-1) tied up the Nicholls foursome, and a Twiston-Davies treble, with a winning debut in the Skyform Group Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

It was also a landmark day for Nicholls’ former assistant Dan Skelton as he reached 100 winners in a season for the first time thanks to a double with Ch’Tibello (8-1) and Two Taffs (5-2 favourite).

The latter provided the landmark success for the trainer with a three-length verdict over Missed Approach in the Ayrshire Hospice Land O’Burns Starlight Walk Handicap Hurdle.

Ch’Tibello put the Skelton team within reach of the century, landing the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle by a length and three-quarters.