Randox Grand National winner Corach Rambler returned to a hero’s welcome at his trainer Lucinda Russell’s Kinross base on Sunday.
Sent off the 8-1 favourite, the nine-year-old coasted through the Aintree showpiece to beat Vanillier by two and a quarter lengths.
He was partnered by Derek Fox, who suffered an injury scare in the days leading up to the race but returned in time to land a second National with Russell after One For Arthur in 2017.
Only three horses trained in Scotland have ever won the historic contest, and Russell is responsible for two of them.
Scores of people were on hand to welcome Corach Rambler and Apple Away, a Grade One winner on Friday, back to Russell’s Arlary House Stables, in Milnathort, north of Edinburgh.
Russell said: “It is just amazing. We were coming up the M6 last night… what Corach does is very important to us because we know him so well and you just wonder whether other people feel the same way.
“It was just amazing driving in today, the number of cars and people and the support he has.
“I know he was favourite in the race the but it is just lovely, how important he is to the community, not just the racing community.
“It is pretty overwhelming I have to say.”
Russell admitted she did not see much of the race itself having been overcome with emotion.
“I didn’t really see very much of it because I was crying so much,” she said.
“I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to lie up with the pace, but Derek managed to bounce him up quite handy,
“I wasn’t sure he would take to the fences, he hadn’t jumped round there before and he jumped the first two or three and I wasn’t sure.
“But he jumped Becher’s Brook and suddenly he was like ‘I love this’ and you could see his body shape and stuff and after that he just loved it and I thought we had a right chance.”
The race itself was delayed by around 15 minutes due to a group of animal rights activists, and Russell feels education is the way forward if the two sides can ever sit around a table.
“I have always said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” said Russell.
“I would like them to be a little bit more educated in their opinion.
“If they could come and see the horses, understand that we are doing everything that we can. We can’t reduce risk to zero, you just can’t.
“I get that some people don’t like racing, that is fine, but I would like them to come and see how well they are looked after.
“Any race yard would gladly let people come and see them but I suppose for a lot of the stuff they don’t want to be educated, they are quite happy making the decision that it is not their thing.”
Russell’s partner and assistant, eight-times champion jockey Peter Scudamore, rides Corach Rambler every morning and his pride shone through.
“I am so pleased now that the world gets this wonderful horse,” he said.
“I could use all the words and try and explain what a wonderful horse it is, he has gone and shown it. There is an immense, smug satisfaction of a job well done. I will have a drink, but I don’t feel party-ish, it’s a job well done.
“He hit the front sooner than we expected but that is the genius of Derek Fox, he allowed it.
“He is a remarkable horse but he is not an elaborate jumper. He is Red Rum-ish in his efficiency. He now goes up to another grade. He has done everything I have asked of him.
“He might not run until late autumn. He will spend the summer in the paddock.”
As if proof were needed of the reach of the National, Scudamore revealed they had received a congratulatory message from a very famous person.
“We have some lovely owners and we had lunch with them one day and they said ‘we have a guest coming’ and Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad) from Abba turned up,” said Scudamore.
“She was just the most beautiful person, as a human not just in her beauty itself. Unbelievable, just so kind. I felt really humbled. She was kind enough to ask me about horses and stuff.
“We were driving up the motorway yesterday and the phone went ‘ping’ and it was the owners, she’d said tell Scu and Lucinda ‘well done’.
“After the lunch we had said, who is the most famous person we had ever met and we couldn’t come up with anyone more famous – the Queen, well that didn’t count I don’t think.
“That is the Grand National. We live in this bubble of racing that doesn’t really step outside but that makes you realise, Frida from Abba – as big as it gets!”
Thomas Kendall is one of ‘The Ramblers’ – the seven-strong syndicate lucky enough to own the winner.
“Yesterday was life-changing in terms of that moment when he crossed the finish line,” he said.
“You never think you are going to have a Grand National winner when you start buying into horses, but here I am with a double Cheltenham winner and a Grand National winner. It is the stuff of dreams really, isn’t it?
“I am not sure where I go from here because it is probably not going to get better than that. Absolutely amazing.
“We have not actually worked it (prize-money) all out, but I definitely know we have nudging over £500,000 between us. So clearly that works out pretty well.
“I haven’t worked out what I am going to do with it, but it is going to be there for the spending – I am not going to save it, put it that way.”