JOCKEY Sam Coltherd and Captain Redbeard did the Borders proud in Saturday's 2019 Randox Grand National at Aintree, writes John Smail.

A brilliant jumping display allowed Sam and the 10-year-old gelding to stay in contention right up until the race's final stages, eventually finishing in 16th place out of the 40-strong field.

Back at Coltherd Racing’s Clarilawmuir yard on Monday, the 20-year-old jockey said the whole day had been an unbelievable experience.

“On arrival you do the course walk and next it’s into the stewards room at 12 o’ clock. Then when the horses finally get out on the track it’s all over in a split second – you wouldn’t think it’s an eight-minute or a 10-minute race.

“I thought as long as I had a wee bit of room the whole way round, I wasn’t really worried about my lad jumping. People falling round me was my biggest concern, but luckily we got a clear run after the first and it went to plan.

“He just never quite stayed the marathon trip, but he gave it his all and he’s tried his best so no excuses this time anyway.

“The support I’ve had has been unbelievable - all the messages beforehand from people wishing me luck, and then after the race congratulating me for completing. I’d like to thank everyone for all their good wishes.”

Sam's father Stuart Coltherd, who trains and owns Captain Redbeard, was quick to pay tribute to the pair's stunning achievement.

“Without a doubt he’s exceeded all expectations,” said Stuart.

“At one time I think he was fourth or fifth jumping the Canal Turn, so at that stage it looked as though the dream was possible.

“The horse hasn’t quite stayed the four miles but I’ll take that any day, he’s run really well, so no complaints. I’m always saying to Sam that if you’ve got the horse in a position to win the race, and well, he was there if the horse was good enough.

“It must have been a big thrill for him as the horse has jumped great and they’re both back in one piece which is the main thing. A great day for everyone concerned.”