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Scottish Grand National preview & tips: Horse-by-horse guide

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Check out David Ord’s horse-by-horse guide and best bet for Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.


STAY AWAY FAY

Lost a shoe and scoped dirty after being pulled up in the Brown Advisory and a line can be put through that run. One of the leading staying novice chasers in Britain this season and was improving before Cheltenham so has to be given another chance, but no easy task under top weight in against some seasoned gunslingers.

MR INCREDIBLE

Ran a cracker to chase home Beauport in the Midlands Grand National and is two pounds better off for a length-and-three-quarters beating with that rival but is very hard to predict and wasn’t as good at Aintree on Saturday. The standing start wasn’t for him and he was still in rear when wiped out at The Chair. Needs to be one of the very good days in Scotland.

ELVIS MAIL

Threatens to stay this far and is a prolific winner but prone to making mistakes. He’s up four pounds for winning at Carlisle last week so has nothing in hand of the assessor either.

BEAUPORT

Did well to beat Mr Incredible given he didn’t jump particularly fluently and while up five pounds, he’s only eight and there could be further big days in him.

ONTHEROPES

Useful in his younger days and represents Willie Mullins and Cheveley Park Stud but has looked a shadow of his former self in three runs this season and would be a surprise winner even given where he hails from.

SPANISH HARLEM

A very expensive recruit from France who hasn’t scaled the anticipated heights yet but there’s been promise in his three starts to date over fences including when third to Saint Felicien at Gowran last time. This is deeper and a much stiffer stamina test but he is a potential improver.

GOLD CUP BAILLY

Has been off the track for over a year and while he goes well at this track, his best form is in much smaller fields and it would be some training performance to have him ready to win this off such an absence.

IRON BRIDGE

Sent off favourite for the Midlands National but pulled up after making mistakes. Has a bit to prove now and hardly a prolific winner, his only success in his last eight starts coming in a match at Haydock.

WHISTLEINTHEDARK

Rattled off a four-timer last term and back down to his last winning mark after finishing tenth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Didn’t exactly shape like a Scottish National winner there though.

BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE

Warmed to the task this season and produced his best run in a handicap yet when second to Rose Of Arcadia at Sandown last month. Up three pounds and not one to draw a line through.

MACDERMOTT

The Mullins runner to leap to the head of the market when it was confirmed he was on the title trail and did improve, stepped up to three miles, to win at Fairyhouse last time. He’s 16 pounds higher and has another mile to run on Saturday and one might be a bigger problem than the other.

TOMMIE BEAU

Won four times this season and ran another good race when fourth to Anglers Crag in the Eider last time although he does now look to be exactly where the handicapper wants him.

BROKEN HALO

Back to winning ways under a masterful Harry Cobden ride at Taunton last month but up five pounds, that makes life tougher, and champion jockey-elect likely to look elsewhere too.

MR VANGO

A spectacular 60-length winner at Exeter in February and ran as well as could have been expected when third behind Corbett’s Cross and Embassy Gardens in the National Hunt Chase last time. Fully 15 pounds higher than for his last handicap win but has only had three starts over fences and is all about stamina.

AUTONOMOUS CLOUD

Bounced back from pulling up in the Welsh National (reported to have bled) when finishing fourth behind Beauport at Uttoxeter. Came from further back than the three in front of him that day and enjoys a weight pull with the principals. A potential player.

ANGLERS CRAIG

A revelation for Brian Ellison this term, winning his last four including the Eider. He did well to score there having lost momentum when blundering two out but is up eight pounds and would require another big step forward to add this prize to his annus mirabilis.

INIS OIRR

Well backed when winning the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh in February, taking well to a first-time visor when slamming Enrilo by 21 lengths. The handicapper hasn’t missed him, but the ground looks right for him and there’s every chance there’s more to come.

MY SILVER LINING

Model of consistency, winning the Classic Chase at Warwick before hitting the frame in the Haydock Grand National Trial and Midlands National. Sure to run her race again.

GIT MAKER

Fresh after only three starts this season and bumped into the proverbial handicap snip when second to Inothewayurthinkin in the Fulke/Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham. He was 18 lengths clear of the rest that day, handles testing ground, promises to stay this far and has a lot going for him.

SURREY QUEST

Made a bright start to the season but came up short when sights were raised in the Great Yorkshire Chase last time and that’s the worry. Promises to be effective at this kind of trip.

KLARK KENT

Touched off at Fairyhouse last time and a low mileage Mullins raider who could have more to offer. The trip is the question mark and holds an alternative entry at the meeting.

WHACKER CLAN

Likeable type and we might not have seen the best of him yet but well adrift of Git Maker at Cheltenham last time and not weighted to close the gap.

EGBERT

Ran well in first-time blinkers when second to Slipway at Kempton last time. Yard know what it takes to win a Scottish National but two pounds out of the handicap and needs a career best by some distance.

PUNITIVE

Third at Ffos Las on first start for Peter Bowen which represented a positive start but impossible to make much of a case or him in this.

SECRET REPRIEVE

Had been off for 12 months before finishing sixth at Sandown in March. Entitled to come forward from it and mark is slipping but still hard to fancy from five pounds wrong.

WE’LLHAVEWAN

Went powerfully through the race when second in the Punchestown Grand National Trial in February bit didn’t seem to get home when sixth in the Irish National next time. Another out of the weights.


Conclusion

All eyes on the trainers’ title battle here. Stay Away Fay is a player for Paul Nicholls, Ballygriffincottage could go well for Dan Skelton, while the progressive Spanish Harlem may be the pick of team Mullins.

However, it might pay to look elsewhere. National Hunt Chase third Mr Vango remains completely unexposed as a staying chaser and makes plenty of appeal but marginal preference is for GIT MAKER.

He ran a cracker to chase home subsequent Grade One winner Inothewayurthinkin at Cheltenham last time, finishing clear of the remainder. Fresh and only a pound higher, he should go close.


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