WITH the 2018 Randox Health Grand National just over a month away, Selkirk trainer Stuart Coltherd received a timely boost when his Aintree hopeful, Captain Redbeard, stormed home to win the Caledonian Best Handicap at Ayr Races on Saturday.

Ridden by Stuart’s 19-year-old son Sam, the nine-year-old gelding led from start to finish, holding off a strong challenge in the home straight by Elusive Theatre to win by threequarters of a length and collect the first prize of £10,657 at odds of 11/2.

The victory was Captain Redbeard’s second of the season, following on from his triumph in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock Park.

It was jockey Sam Coltherd’s 32nd career win.

“I was pleased by how well he ran,” said owner and trainer Stuart Coltherd after the race, “and this will definitely be his last outing before Aintree.

“We won’t officially know if he’s got a place in the Grand National field until after Cheltenham, but we’re hopeful he’ll be there on the Aintree starting line come April 14.”

Captain Redbeard is listed at number 59 in the Grand National ballot, with Kelso trainer Sandy Thomson’s horse Seeyouatmidnight included at 36.