By Dan Walsh
Leading amateur jockey Rob James from Killanne rode the winner of the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr today on Win My Wings (13/2 co-fav) by seven lengths for Welsh trainer Christian Williams.
James has ridden 264 winners in point-to-points and some races on the track, but his only previous winner in Britain was aboard Milan Native for Gordon Elliott in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Steeplechase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
He is one of the leading amateur riders and part of the highly successful Colin Bowe team at Kiltealy, and in recent seasons has begun training at nearby Tomona. He was able to take advantage of a claim designed for inexperienced riders who had ridden fewer than 20 winners because his successes had not come under rules. This was his 13th success.
ITV Racing presenter Mick Fitzgerald, a former jockey whose father was from The Harrow, said afterwards: “For Rob James the jockey, it’s a huge day for him. It’s a real compliment to his ability. It’s like stealing. Him having a seven-pound claim is like theft because he’s so experienced. He was looking around for dangers going to the last.”
The last Wexford-born jockey to win the Scottish Grand National was P.J. McDonald, Taghmon, on Hot Weld (2007) trained by the late Ferdy Murphy, Forrestalstown, Clonroche, who had a great record with three wins in the race and also won it with Paris Pike (2000) and Joe’s Edge (2005) while training in England.