Brave Merigo lands Scottish Grand National for second time in three years
16:00 GMT, 21 April 2012
Staying success: Timmy Murphy raises the Scottish Grand National trophy
Merigo won the Coral Scottish Grand
National for the second time with a brave display in the marathon
handicap chase at Ayr.
Winner in 2010 and second 12 months ago, the
11-year-old just held the front-running Auroras Encore in a thrilling
duel over the last three fences.
The 15-2 winner was ridden by
weighing-room veteran Timmy Murphy for his father-in-law owner Raymond
Anderson Green, and trained by Lockerbie-based Andrew Parker.
Garleton set a strong pace from the
outset, accompanied by Fruity O'Rooney, and it was a gallop that had
several of the leading fancies struggling as the field went out on the
Quentin Collonges, Walkon, Ikorodu
Road and Knockara Beau were among those pulled up while the favourite
Harry The Viking never looked like scoring for his co-owner Sir Alex
Make mine a double: Merigo and Timmy Murphy power up the home straight
On the front end, after Garleton gave way down the back straight, it was Auroras Encore who took the bull by the horns under Ryan Mania.
Murphy was wise to the move and patiently brought Merigo to make his challenge in the straight.
Although Auroras Encore (25-1) outjumped him, Merigo's determination won the day as he gained the verdict by a head.
Thrill of the chase: Merigo (left) jumps with Any Currency and Heez A Steel
Thumbs up: Murphy celebrates on Merigo
King Fontaine (40-1) was 15 lengths away third with Ballyfitz (33-1) another nine lengths back in fourth.
Murphy said: 'He's a superstar. Andrew knows him better than anybody and I think he just comes to himself at this time of year.
'The choke was out for a long way and
all credit to how deep he dug for me. I couldn't go any quicker and his
jumping was keeping him it.
'He's a great horse to own and ride.'
Anderson Green said: 'To win it once is dreamland, to come back and do
it again – words can't describe it. It means everything to me to win
'It was a great ride by Timmy.'