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Scottish Grand National: Macdermott secures big success for Willie Mullins

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Macdermott struck a potentially decisive blow for Willie Mullins in the jumps trainers’ championship race by securing a thrilling success in the Coral Scottish Grand National.

The unexposed novice – an 18-1 chance having been ante-post favourite at one stage – edged out Surrey Quest in a memorable late battle to become the first six-year-old to claim this prize since Earth Summit 30 years ago.

Mullins suffered a double setback early on, as Mr Incredible pulled himself up before the first fence and then We’llhavewan fell at that obstacle, but he still had more ammunition, four in fact – and that proved enough.

Sara Bradstock’s Mr Vango was the gamble of the race, being backed into favourite near the off, and he settled down as the front-runner under Ben Jones, with Whistleinthedark and Klarc Kent keeping him company.

The eight-year-old Mr Vango was still in front heading out for the final circuit, but he was passed on the turn for home, as Macdermott and Surrey Quest kicked on.

The advantage swung one way and then the other during a ding-dong battle between that pair up the run-in, but it was Macdermott who just got the nod when it mattered most.

Git Maker stayed on for third, while Mullins picked up more valuable prize-money via fourth-placed Klarc Kent at 50-1.

His trainer told Racing TV: “To me, the way he jumped was spectacular, I’d have no problem aiming him for Aintree next year or for the Irish National, we’ll see but we’ll be aiming for all those chases.

“He’s got age on his side, so it’s fantastic. He just got experience every day he went out; we started him off at two miles and just kept running him for experience, because he hasn’t got runs under his belt and last year it took me
all season to get him fit enough.

“He’s a big, lazy fella and he just takes so much training. And he’s so laid back, but now he’s getting the hang of it and if we can get him in this sort of form, it’ll be straight to those kind of staying chases for him to run in.”

The winning jockey, who is the trainer’s nephew, told ITV Racing: “An unexposed Willie Mullins novice in a staying handicap chase is what you want to be on.

“He has his jumping issues and we ended up on the deck one day in Limerick, but even the fall that day has taught him how to be efficient.

“He made a few mistakes out there today, but I got a fantastic jump at the fourth- and third-last and he was good and tough when I needed him at the back of the last.”

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