SATURDAY’S Coral Scottish Grand win was a great triumph for the north with trainer Nicky Richards one of the trainers who regularly sends horses to Ayr over the winter from his base at Greystoke Castle near Penrith.

Taking Risks, the 25-1 shot was a convincing winner in the highly prestigious race.

Speaking in the Winners Enclosure after the race he said : “Frank Bird owns this horse and he is one of the biggest poultry farmers in Britain. He has been patient and is a great owner basically letting me get on with it.

“I love coming to Ayr and this is great for northern racing. We don’t have the resources some of the southern boys have so this is one for us.”

And jockey Sean Quinlan who was riding his biggest ever winner added : “It’s a big fair galloping track and after my boy made a mistake at the first I managed to work him into the race. This is the icing on the cake of a great season.

“This has to be the biggest win of my career so far. I have been with the horse now for four years and he jumped really well.”

Owner Richards was celebrating a third success in the race for his family as his dad Gordon won it with Playlord and Four Trix.

He said: “I considered running the horse in the race as he won at Carlisle last month.”

Although top weight Beware The Bear was one of five horses who came out of the race because of the going being on the quick side this was one of the most hotly contested Coral Scottish Grand Nationals of all time.

Jeronimo was the early leader but fell away before being pulled up three quarters of the way through.

The winner had already won at Ayr twice this season and looks like a horse who is on the up and will now be aiming to win some other major races.

Saturday’s action also included a win for the heavily-backed Verdana Blue, ridden by Connor Brace and also trained by Nicky Henderson, in the CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle. The firm favourite ran a great race.

In the Future Champion Novices Steeplechase. 2-1 favourite Secret Investor, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Harry Cobden was a worthy winner. Over the two days of the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival more than 3,000 meals were served plus thousands of portions of fast food. Sell-out signs going up five weeks before the big event.

Bars and restaurants throughout Ayr, Prestwick and beyond reported terrific trade at the weekend and hotels were also sold out.

Make up salons opened their doors before 5am on Saturday to cope with the number of ladies wanting to look their best for the big day.