Scottish Grand National Preview
The Scottish Grand National was moved to Ayr in 1966, since when the winners have had to excel over 4-miles 110-yards and 27 fences.
Though Grey Abbey carried top-weight to victory in 2004, in the last decade only one horse has carried more than 10-9 to victory, with the other 9 carrying between 9-7 and 10-9.
The last 10 runnings have been won by one 7-year-old, two 8-year-olds, three 9-year-olds, one 10-year-old, and three 11-year-olds.
No horse, trainer or jockey has dominated the race, with only Merigo and his trainer and jockey Andrew Parker and Timmy Murphy registering doubles, whilst smaller trainers such as Hilary Parrot and Sean Curran have enjoyed success.
Cause Of Causes
Bids to do a Grey Abbey, but must do so from a 13lb higher mark than when bolting-up in this year’s Kim Muir. Carried 11-9 there though, but may prefer better ground.
All 8 wins in fields of 6 or less.
Looks like he might relish the trip and likely soft ground, but has a big-weight, and is another whose form is in small-fields.
Decent third in this year’s National Hunt Chase, and only the 11-3 on his back tempers enthusiasm.
8-lenghs behind Measureofmydreams at Cheltenham, and this softer ground is unlikely to help him close the gap.
6lb above last winning mark, and is another who would prefer better ground.
Vyta Du Roc
Looks well-handicapped on his defeat of Minella Rocco at Ascot, and on his hurdles form. Also interesting that he’s won all 4 of his starts on soft ground. Not proven at the trip, but could be suited by it. Very tempting despite him carrying 11-2.
Same mark as when second in the Midlands National and, though that form doesn’t look good enough, he could run well.
6lb higher than last winning mark, and has flopped in four class-1 races.
Promises to stay this trip, though he’s 11lb higher than for last win.
2lb lower than when third in the Eider and second in the Welsh National, and is interesting with just 10-13 and Noel Fehily on his back. Also wearing first-time headgear.
6lb lower than when 15-lengths behind Many Clouds in the 2015 Grand National, and jockey probably had the choice between him and Golden Chieftain. Stable red-hot at present.
Former Welsh National winner is 5lb higher than for last win, and stable not in great form.
Lightly-raced former Cheltenham Festival winner over 4-miles, and stable has saddled Godsmejudge to be first and second in this.
Trainer Kerry Lee has nailed some big races this year, and this one keeps on improving but will need to again.
Often runs in small fields, and may be better on better ground.
A Good Skin
Very interesting on his second to Cause of Causes last time, and is much better off with the winner. Not proven at the trip, but could find further improvement for it.
His fourth in the Midlands National leaves with something to find, but Richard Johnson has won his only ride on him.
One of the unluckiest horses of the year having fallen in his last two races when looking the almost certain winner of both. Deserves compensation, though usual jockey rides Royale Knight.
Stable won the race in 2014, and could be another improver for the staying trip.
Pineau De Re
The 13-year-old former Grand National winner bids to become the oldest winner of the race, but the handicapper gives him a chance from a mark 6lb lower than his National win. Also won over hurdles off a 1lb lower mark this season, and stable red-hot.
Often runs well fresh, and won Becher Chase on seasonal debut. That was his first run for his new trainer, who hasn’t run him since, but he’s 12lb higher here.
Trainer bids for an amazing Grand National hat-trick after bagging the Irish and English versions, and this one is only 3lb higher than when 4th in the Irish National.
Lost all 3 runs at Ayr, and 8lb higher than last win.
Only 3lb higher than when winning 2015 Eider, but best form on better ground.
Stable just found a bit of form, and he won his only start at a staying-trip (30-furlongs). However, he is 16lb higher than that winning mark.
Well fancied for the Eider, but that wasn’t the first time his jumping was put under pressure in a big field, but still a chance on form.
Tour Des Champs
9lb higher than last winning mark, and not proved up to this class on several previous attempts.
Placed in two Grand Nationals off higher marks, and looks place material again.
Fair animal in class-3, but probably not good enough despite low-weight.
The likes of Seeyouatmidnight and Vyta Du Roc could have got in lightly here if they can handle the demands of the big-field, but both are more highly weighted than ideal. Therefore, with his stable emerging from the doldrums this week, it could be worth chancing Heathfield who won quite easily on his only try at this sort of trip, and carries just 10-7.