HORSE RACING SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL Ayr, Fri 16 and Sat 17 Apr
Fallers at Aintree: camhorses get] their breath back in time f A
Missed the Grand National at Aintree? If you did, you’re in a small minority, or so it would seem from the BBC’s audience figures. Over 10m watched the 2004 National: more than for any race since 1998. But never fear, the national hunt season offers up another long-distance treat just a fortnight after the Aintree event, and this time it’s taking place much closer to home at Ayr.
Not since 1974 has one horse won both the English the Scottish Grand Nationals in the same year, and perhaps not surprisingly the only beast capable of the feat was the legendary Red Rum. And if Ayr’s own National continues to be staged so soon after the Aintree event, it’s unlikely that any other horse will repeat Red Rum’s remarkable achievement. Last year’s favourite at Aintree, Shotgun Willy, was a typical example of a horse exhausted by the English race, and who was withdrawn from Ayr at the last minute. This year, second and third placed Aintree heroes Clan Royal and Lord Atterbury, were withdrawn from Ayr last week. But the Scottish Grand National remains a highlight of the racing calendar, with a top quality field of runners. Trainer Martin Pipe has entered no fewer than 14, including last year’s runner up, Stormez, which was just pipped at the post by Ryalux.
At a distance of four miles and one furlong, the race, almost as long as its English counterpart, demands huge stamina from the horses and their jockeys, and there are the inevitable risks to the equine participants. Even though industry insiders claim the sport is getting safer every year, it’s not uncommon to witness injuries at these events. But although the stakes are high, the rewards are great too, with a prize of £70,000 going to the winner.
The two-day meeting features seven races on each day, with the first race at 2.20pm on Friday, and at 1.45pm on Saturday. If you’ve never witnessed the thrilling thrum of horses galloping past just a few feet away, this could
be a perfect place to start. (Nick Barley)
Events are listed by date, then city. Submit listings at least ten days before publication. Sports listings are subject to change, so please check in advance. Listings are compiled by Rachael Street.
I Tennis: Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Scotstoun Leisure Centre. Danes Drive. Scotstoun. 959 4000. 10am. Free. Singles and doubles matches over a range of different ability levels for players from all over Britain. I Rugby: Glasgow Rugby v Celtic Warriors llughenden. 32 Hughenden Road. 353 3468. 7.30pm. £10—L‘l4 (£517). The Celtic Warriors travel up from Wales for this Celtic League match.
Outside the cities
I Horse Racing: Scottish Grand National Ayr Racecourse. 2 Whitletts
Road. Ayr. 01292 264 I 79. 2.20pm. £11 £21 (£4 family enclosure): vveekend ticket £24 £48. Experience the thrill of hooves pounding on the turf and watch the best horses in Scotland competing to he first past the post.
I Croquet: Glasgow Open Kelvingrove Park. ()tago Street. 334 6363. 9.30am. Free. Open croquet tournament organised by the Scottish croquet association.
I Tennis: Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Scotstouii Leisure Centre. Danes Drive. Scotstoun. 959 4000. 10am. Free. See Fri 16.
I Football: Rangers v Partick Thistle lbrox Stadium. lidmistoii Drive. 0870 600 1993. 3pm. A disappointing season for these tvvo can‘t end quick enough. Still. it‘s a local derby so there‘s some pride to play for.
I Football: Hearts v Livingston 'I‘ynecastle Stadium. (iorgie Road. 200 7201. 3pm. Another local-ish derby as the not-llampden bound Jambos meet the Cup- happy Livi.
I Rugby: Edinburgh Festival of Rugby lidinburgh Northern RFC. lnverleith Park. liasi Fettes Avenue. 332 391 l; Forrester RFC. Brooiiihouse Road. 334 6981. Times vary. A series of tournaments and games to promote rugby across iidinbui‘gh until 2 May.
I Badminton: Bank of Scotland Badminton Bonanza Open Tournament Meadovvbank Sports Centre. 139 London Road. 66] 5351. 9.30am 5.30pm. ()pen tournament for club and social badminton players organised by Badminton Scotland.
OutSIde the Cities
I Horse Racing: Scottish Grand National Ayr Racecourse. 2 Whitletts Road. 01292 264179. 1.45pm. £16135 (£5 family enclosure); vveekend ticket £24~£48 See Fri 16.
I Croquet: Glasgow Open Kelvingrove Park. ()tago Street. 334 6363. 9.30am. Free. See Sat 17.
I Tennis: Wheelchair Tennis Tournament Scotstoun Leisure Centre. Danes Drive. Scotstouii. 959 4000. 10am. Free. See Fri 16.
I American Football: Scottish Claymores v Amsterdam Admirals llainpden l’ark. Letherby Drive, 616 6000. 2pm. The (‘layiiiores will be hoping to mark their first home game of the season vvith a victory over their Dutch opponents.
I Rugby: Edinburgh Festival of Rugby Royal lligh (‘orstorphine RFC. Fast Barton Avenue. 346 5252. Times var}; See Silt 17.
Outside the cities
I Athletics: Ormidale 10k Roadrace ()rmidale Park. Brodick. isle of Arran. 01770 700689. Times vary. Popular annual relay race around Brodick‘s ()rmidale park.
I Football: Kilmarnock v Celtic Rugby Park. Rugby Road. 01563 525184. 3pm. Celtic return to the place they lost the league last year in somevvhat more celebratory mood.
OutSide the Cities
I Motor racing: Bike Track Days Knockhill Racing Circuit. Knockhill. (11383 723337. 10am 5pm. £75 £13516-
. 8pm. £40. Bike track days giving
participants to try out their machines on a professional race track.
I Basketball: Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Braeheatt Arena. Kings Inch Road. Renfrevv. 885 1441. 7.30pm. £16.20 £30. A chance to vvatch some world-class basketball as the famous Harlem Globetrotters troupe put on a shovv in (ilasgovv as part of their global tour.
I Rugby: Edinburgh Festival of Rugby Academicals Sports Ground. Raeburn Place. Stockbridge. 346 5252. Times vary. See Sat 17.
Glasgow I Croquet: Spring Weekend
Kelvingrove Park. ()tago Street. (ilasgovv.
334 6363. 9.30aiii-6pm. Free. The first of three major handicap competitions organised by the Scottish Croquet Association.
I Rugby: Edinburgh Festival of Rugby Broughton RFC. 109 Granton Road. 552 6780. Times vary. See Sat 17.
OutSIde the Cities
I Football: Livingston v Dundee United Almondvale Stadium. Almondvale Stadium Road. Livingston. 01506 417000. 7.45pm. Can laii McCall's resurgent L'nited rip apart the Livi lions'.’
I Croquet: Spring Weekend Kelvingrove Park. ()tago Street. Glasgow. 334 6363. 9am-6pm. Free. See Sat 24.
OutSIde the Cities
I Horse Racing: Daily Record Punter Day Hamilton Park Racecourse. Bothvvell Road. Hamilton. 01698 283806. 2.20pm. £10--£16. First race meeting of the season at Hamilton Park.
Outside the Cities
I Horse Racing: Kelso Races Kelso Racecourse. Kelso. 01573 224767. 5.40pm. £10115); under £16s free. National hunt horse racing staged at Britain's friendliest course in the most picturesque of settings.
Outside the Cities
I Horse Racing: Race Evening Ayr Racecourse. 2 Whitletts Road. 01292 264179. 6pm. L‘tbc. National hunt racing evening.
BUNFIGHT AT THE CROQUET CORRAL Possibly the silliest game in history? Not to the thousands of people who regularly knock balls through hoops on pleasant lawns across the land. To the initiated, it’s rather like a large-scale game of snooker. It seems that many Scottish golfers took up the game in the 16th century as a form of practice, and when James VI of Scotland became James 1 of England in 1604, he turned the game into a Britain- wide pastime. If you feel like having a go, try going along to the Glasgow Open at Kelvingrove Park, and giving the pipe—smoking old timers a run for their money.
I The Glasgow Open is at Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, on Sat 77Apr. 0747 334 6363
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