Scottish Grand National
The Scottish Grand National is the most important event of the Scottish National Hunt handicap chase races and is open to five-year-old horses and above. Regularly, horses that ran in the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse will also compete in the Scottish Grand National. While not known to be as punishing as the Aintree Grand National, the Scottish Grand National is still a challenging chase, with 27 fences to be jumped over a distance of 4 miles 110 yards.
The Scottish Grand National is currently held at Ayr Racecourse in April, though this has not always been the case. From its inaugural race in 1867 through 1965, the race was run at the Bogside Racecourse over a distance of 3 miles 7 furlongs. From 1966 onwards, it has been run at the current distance at Ayr Racecourse.
Unlike a flat race, the Scottish Grand National is a race over distance as well as obstacles – it’s a chase. It is also handicapped, so the best horses are weighed down in order to level out the playing field and make for more exciting betting.
Proof of how routinely Aintree Grand National horses run the Scottish Grand National, the legendary Red Rum won both races in 1974. The Scottish Grand National just does not have the same prestige with the general public. Winning the Scottish Grand National is nevertheless an impressive achievement for any thoroughbred.
The 2009 Scottish Grand National will be held on 18 April, a few weeks after the Aintree Grand National. Even though the Scottish Grand National is not as widely followed as the Aintree Grand National, it is still a vital part of the Scottish racing calendar, so make sure you look into tickets and accommodation a long time leading up to the race.