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All eyes on Ayr for build up to Scottish Grand National



All eyes will be on Ayr this weekend for the biggest event in Scotland’s horse-racing calendar.

The Scottish Grand National will take place on Saturday afternoon with punters, jockeys, trainers and, of course, the horses preparing for the big day.

A field of 26 will line up for the race, which begins at 3.35pm, including favourites Macdermott, Mr Incredible and Git Maker.

Last year the race was won by Kitty’s Light, which was a second consecutive Scottish National win for trainer Christian Williams.

Willie Mullins’ horse I Am Maximus won last weekend’s Grand National at Aintree and the 67-year-old trainer is aiming to make it two in a row with Mr Incredible running at Ayr Racecourse this weekend.

His team also consists of Macdermott, Spanish Harlem, Ontheropes, Klarc Kent and We’llhavewan as he hopes to clinch a British trainers’ title.

The last time Mullins had a chance of winning the title, Paul Nicholls landed the Scottish National with Vicente before going on to secure top spot in the table at Sandown.

This time around, the all-conquering Mullins is throwing everything at it, with 18 runners on the big card at Ayr on Saturday, as he attempts to emulate the legendary Vincent O’Brien, something the Closutton handler’s son and assistant Patrick acknowledges would be “incredibly special”.

While the victory of I Am Maximus in the Grand National at Aintree put Mullins in the driving seat, the team are taking nothing for granted, based on what happened in 2016.

This year, they are involved in a three-way battle with Dan Skelton joining the fray, and Mullins jnr thinks if any of the three manage to win either the National or the Scottish Champion Hurdle this weekend, it will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

“We find ourselves in a position we weren’t particularly expecting, so we’re going to be putting everything we can towards it now,” he said.

“It’s 70-odd years since Vincent O’Brien was the only Irish trainer to win the British jumps title, so to emulate him would be something that would be incredibly special.

“In 2016, we actually came into this weekend ahead as well, I think, but Paul Nicholls pulled a rabbit out of the hat and won the Scottish National with Vicente at 14-1 and that was the difference in the end.”

The event will be shown live on STV with coverage starting at 1pm.

Full list of runners:

  1. Stay Away Fay
  2. Mr Incredible
  3. Elvis Mail
  4. Beauport
  5. Ontheropes
  6. Spanish Harlem
  7. Gold Cup Bailly
  8. Iron Bridge
  9. Whistleinthedark
  10. Baillygrifincottage
  11. Macdermott
  12. Tommy Beaua
  13. Broken Halo
  14. Mr Vango
  15. Autonomous Cloud
  16. Anglers Crag
  17. Inis Oirr
  18. My Silver Lining
  19. Git Maker
  20. Surrey Quest
  21. Klarc Kent
  22. Whacker Clan
  23. Egbert
  24. Punitive
  25. Secret Reprieve
  26. We’llhavewan
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