Grand National 2018: Seeyouatmidnight & Captain Redbeard carry Scottish hopes

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Seeyouatmidnight running at Cheltenham in 2016
Seeyouatmidnight running over the fences at Cheltenham in 2016
Randox Health Grand National
Venue: Aintree Meeting date: 12-14 April Grand National: 17:15 BST Saturday
Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; continued on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text updates on BBC Sport website
Runners: Quick guide

Two Scottish-trained horses run in Saturday's Grand National at Aintree, aiming to follow the success of last year's winner, One for Arthur, who misses out this time through injury.

Sandy Thomson trains Seeyouatmidnight just a few miles away from Kelso racecourse. The 10-year-old gelding has only been out of the money on three of his 16 races under rules.

The Grand National was a race Thomson always had in mind for the horse but they suffered a setback last year when he had to undergo surgery for a wind problem.

"We have always thought that one year he would run in the Grand National," explained Thomson. "Since he won the Dipper Chase at Newcastle it was always one of the races that would be on his agenda. But when he went wrong at this time last year we thought that was it and we would get him ready for this year."

Thomson and his wife Quona bought the horse at Doncaster Sales six years ago and 'Midnight' is looked upon as a family member by all at Lambden Stables near Greenlaw. However, when an offer came in to buy the horse ahead of the world's most famous race it was one that simply could not be turned down.

"We run a business but that would have only have happened (the sale) if he was to stay here," said Thomson. "He will run in the colours of Mrs David Thompson, who owns Cheveley Park Stud. She bought Highland Lodge last year to run in the race and won the race with Party Politics in 1992."

Prior to his operation last year the horse had run against some of the top chasers in the country and that has given the former farmer the confidence to have a go at the Aintree obstacles.

"He has some very good bits of form. Last year he was 7/2 third favourite with Cue Card in the Betfair Chase having beaten Bristol De Mai at Carlisle and having good form with Blaklion. So how good is he? We will find out on Saturday."

Twenty five miles along the road on the outskirts of Selkirk is where Scotland's second Grand National runner is based.

Captain Redbeard is owned and trained by Stuart Coltherd, who came by the horse in unusual circumstances.

"A guy sent him to us to train with a view to sell on and I couldn't find anyone to buy him." said Coltherd. "I thought the horse showed a little bit of potential so I ended up buying him myself thinking I will surely sell him on. I tried two or three people and couldn't find an owner for him so we just kept him ourselves.

"We have had him about five years now and he has proven to be a stable star."

One for Arthur was the winner of the Grand National in 2017
One for Arthur was only a second Scottish-trained winner of the National

Captain Redbeard will be ridden by Stuart's son Sam. The 19-year-old now rides mainly as a conditional jockey for Midlands trainer Sue Smith and says he is living the dream.

"Ever since I could walk I have always had the passion to be a jockey," said the teenager. "I'm three seasons into my career now and I love it. I had no interest in school at all and as soon as I could leave I left and got into horses and horse racing."

The Coltherds combine training racehorses with running three farms and Stuart says despite it being the busiest time in the farming calendar they are more than capable of being able to combine both jobs.

"We have just about 1,100 ewes and we are lambing at the moment.," he said. "We also have about 80 cows to calf in the next couple of months. I suppose the Grand National has always been run at this time but it would help me a lot if they changed it!"

Coltherd says to win the race would be a "dream come true" but all he really wants is to have the horse back safe and well on Sunday morning.

"It's what every racehorse trainer is looking for," he said. "It's the biggest race in the world. It would go down in history and mean everything but as long as we come home safely and give it our best shot we can do no more."

Both Seeyouatmidnight and Captain Redbeard will face the starting tape on Saturday with real chances and maybe, with a little bit of luck, another Scottish trained winner will enter the Grand National Hall of Fame.