The drama in the Edinburgh Gin Chase started even before starter’s orders as 2017 Grand National hero One for Arthur, owned by Borderers Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson and trained by Lucinda Russell near Kinross, was withdrawn due to the ground being unsuitable for him.
Three of the remaining eight runners then came down in incidents at the very first fence, and heading out on the final circuit, this year’s Midlands National winner Truckers Lodge unseated Lorcan Williams at the first on the far side.
With just four runners left standing, the Ben Poste-ridden 11-4 favourite stormed home three lengths to the good ahead of Claud and Goldie.
His Herefordshire-based trainer, Michael Scudamore, also last year’s winning trainer with Mysteree, said: “It’s a good six hours to get up here but it’s worth it when you’re winning a £25,000 race.
“Nice ground like this is key to him as we’ve fancied him before only for the going to turn soft.
“He was well away from all the carnage today, and I’m very pleased with that performance.
“He’s won five times now so we’ll try and find him a route that takes him to Ayr for the big race in April.
“All his wins have come over fences so he is still a novice over hurdles, which gives us another option.”
Lucy Alexander conjured a barnstorming finish out of Chanting Hill to land the novices’ limited handicap chase.
The mare is a well-bred daughter of Milan, and winning Fife trainer Nick Alexander said: “She was disappointing over hurdles last season, but she was always going to be a chaser.
“I thought Lucy gave her a lovely ride and kept her on the wide outside to get a nice view of her fences.”
The final three races went to Scottish-trained horses in the shape of Keith Dalgleish’s Monsieur Co from Carluke in South Lanarkshire, Sandy Thomson’s Ryan Mania-ridden Cedar Hill from Lambden, north of Kelso, and Ian Duncan’s Jessiemac from South Ayrshire.
Thomson, Mania’s stepfather, was delighted to see the 30-year-old guide Cedar Hill, the favourite for his race, to victory over Wise Coco, trained by Hawick’s Alistair Whillans, by eight and a half lengths.
He said: “His first run over fences was at Hexham in mid-September and he was just outside the money, and he did really well here and Ryan gave him a great ride.
“He’s a horse that will give his owners a lot of fun.”