The Scottish Grand National (Saturday 3.55) has been run at Ayr since 1966, and there are 27 fences to be jumped during this 4-mile 110-yards handicap.
Winners have been aged 7 to 11, with two 7-year-olds, two 8-year-olds, three 9-year-olds, and three 11-year-olds successful
Winners have been rated between 124 and 146
Winners have carried between 10-0 and 11-3
Only 2 winners had won last time out, though the last 6 had all won that season before winning here
SPs have ranged from 15/2 to 66/1
Second in the National Hunt Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, though form not boosted in the Irish Grand National, but also ran well when second over hurdles at this meeting last year. Improving, and won earlier this season, but doesn’t look anywhere near as class as the last two horse to defy big weights, Grey Abbey and Run For Free.
Won at this meeting the last two years, but hard to enthuse about off a big-weight after being pulled-up on his last two starts.
Won 3 of his 6 starts at Ayr, and has snippets of form that make him of interest, including third in the 2016 Irish Gold Cup. However, out-of-form so far this season, and stamina doubts, is enough to put me off.
Looks a real-stayer in the making when he wins over 3-miles, but hasn’t so far seen out trips in excess of that distance. Risky.
Fell at the first in the Grand National, but handicapper has decoded to drop last year’s winner back down to last year’s winning mark. Had a below average season so far though, and has 7lb more weight to carry this year. Stable jockey’s choice.
Looks a thorough stayer, and his fourth in the National Hunt Chase gives him roughly the same chance as Missed Approach. Still has 11-9 on his back though.
Catches the eye with the Grand National winning jockey on for the first time, but best form has come at Kelso, where he once finished two-lengths behind One For Arthur off level-weights.
Battle Of Shiloh
Lost his unbeaten record in January when well-beaten when falling, but staying-type who is completely unexposed at this sort of trip. Interesting, but doesn’t look fantastically handicapped on all known form.
Chances depend on him returning to his decent novice-chase form, where his close second to Tea For Two, or his fourth in the 2016 National Hunt Chase, would give him an outstanding chance. Not looked right so far this season though, but really interesting that Noel Fehily is back in the saddle.
Stamina proven but, whilst it’s possible that he didn’t like Cheltenham last time, he is much higher in the weights than for either of his two victories this season.
Handicapper not been harsh raising him 2lb for finishing third at the Cheltenham Festival and, as he made a mistake at the first there, he could easily be the type of novice who does well in this type of race.
Won the Yorkshire National at Catterick earlier this season, but found this too much of a test in 2016.
5lb lower than when tenth last year, and first-time visor may help. However, would prefer the ground much softer.
Third in the 2015 renewal and, off a similar mark, could easily hit the frame.
Lessons In Milan
Finished behind Premier Bond last time, and no obvious reason why he should beat that stablemate here, though a good run is not totally discounted.
Won this is 2014 of 140, and was seventh off 145 in 2015. Had really low-weights both times there though, and not getting any younger.
Balloted out of the Irish National, but connections have always fancied him to run a big-race in some kind of National. Good runs at 3-miles certainly suggest he could get the trip, and nicely weighted.
Henri Pari Morgan
Not been in good enough form to take advantage of his plummeting handicap mark, but connections know he’s thrown-in on 135 after he split Native River and Blaklion when rated 148 last season. Robbie Dunne, who has a tremendous record in long-distance races, could be a clever jockey-booking.
Another who looks like he’s got a big-race in him, but was beaten over 20-lengths in third behind Vieux Lion Rouge and Blaklion last time.
Lightly-raced type who looked like he might relish this trip when staying-on into sixth in the Kim Muir. Money for him this week, and stable-jockey rides him, even though the stable also have Premier Bond.
Only fifth in the Midlands National, and that doesn’t look good enough form to win this.
Stays all day, but won’t get the heavy ground he relishes.
Finally broke his duck over fences last time and, tough usually worried out of it, this smooth-traveller could run well at a big price.
Third in 2014 off an 8lb lower mark, but it was a very easy contest that he won last time. Not always the best of jumpers, and could find this too hot.
Ran well twice over the National Fences this season, but only tenth in this way back in 2012.
Still young enough to confirm his trainer’s high opinion of him, but his jumping usually lets him down.
Earned connections plenty of money in April, with two fourth-placed finishes in the Grand National, and a second in last year’s Scottish National. Handicapper gives the old boy a real chance off a 6lb lower mark than last year, and Brian Hughes a really positive jockey booking.
Gone Too Far
Behind several of these the last twice, and no reason why he should be winning this.
Man With A Van
Pulled-up in the 2015 renewal, but now 9lbs lower, and has a 7lb claimer on. Interesting off a really low-weight, but needs to find something from somewhere to take advantage.
2017 Scottish Grand National Summary
The Henderson pair of Premier Bond and Sugar Baron are interesting, whilst Southfield Royale and Henri Pari Morgan are potentially thrown-in if they can come back to their novice-chase form of last season. However, an each-way play on Alvarado could prove fruitful considering just how well he has performed in this type of contest the last 3 years, and he’s now lower in the weights.
Alvarado, Each-Way @ 22/1 with Ladbrokes (paying 5 places)