Protest targeting Scottish Grand National sees 25 arrested, say police

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Some 25 people have been arrested after animal rights protesters stormed the track at Ayr Racecourse in a bid to stop the Scottish Grand National.

The protesters from Animal Rising climbed under and over fences at around 3.20pm, ahead of the £200,000 race, and invaded the track.

The group, which last week delayed the start of the Grand National at Aintree, said activists were “attempting to attach themselves to jumps and gates” to stop the race, which Jack Tudor-ridden Kitty’s Light went on to win.

The protest also failed to delay the event, with the off time in the 18-horse race recorded as 3.38pm.

Coral Scottish Grand National – Ayr Racecourse – Saturday 22nd April
Kitty’s Light, ridden by jockey Jack Tudor cross the finish line to win the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Mairs said: “Both incidents resulted in people being safely removed and no injuries have been reported.

“Overall, there have been 25 arrests so far across the day and inquiries are continuing.”

The protest comes just seven days after the group managed to make their way onto the track at Aintree, delaying the Grand National by about 15 minutes.

Coral Scottish Grand National – Ayr Racecourse – Saturday 22nd April
Animal Rising activists were apprehended by police officers as they attempted to invade the racecourse (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Today we continue that conversation. As a society, we love animals, but we have to find a way to care for them without harming them,” the protester said.

“This conversation is particularly important in Scotland where we have so much potential for nature and wildlife to thrive.

“We can all build a world that we are proud to be part of. An end to horse racing, as well as a transition to a plant-based food system, are key elements of this kinder, safer future.”

There was an increased security presence due to the protest at Aintree where 118 arrests were made by Merseyside Police.

But on Saturday it was just a handful who took part, and Ayr’s managing director David Brown praised the swift action of the police and security teams on course.

“The race went off to time, there was no notable delay and the professionalism of the team up here in Scotland was a credit to them, they dealt with it in a very efficient manner,” he said after the Scottish Grand National.

“What a great race it was and a great story, for (trainer) Christian Williams to win it for the second year in a row with Kitty’s Light, after he finished second last year. I think for me this is Scotland’s showpiece race and it all ran to time.”

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