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Auroras Encore destined to come up short in Scottish Grand National

| 15.04.2013

After winning the Grand National just two Saturdays ago Auroras Encore looks set to go after a historic marathon double last achieved by Red Rum in 1974 when he contests the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr this weekend. Sue Smith’s steeplechaser is 10/1 to notch to record consecutive victories, but horses who run at Ayr having run in the Aintree race have a terrible record.

Connections’ decision to give Sue Smith the green light to run Auroras Encore at Ayr is on the one hand an admirably sporting gesture in an era where stars of the game are often seen just a couple of times a season, but even if the 11-year-old is none the worse for his Aintree exertions up against on a number of scores.

Firstly the record of horses running in the Scottish National who had run in the Aintree Grand National in the same year is very poor. Of the 22 entrants who tried their luck at both races in the last 10 runnings not one was successful, with a solitary one of the 22 making the places and that a fourth place finish – Becauseicouldntsee and Major Malarkey, pulled up and eleventh at Aintree respectively are others who will attempt to prove history wrong.

In addition to this damning trend and whatever residual effects that glorious Aintree run may have had on the winner he has a 10lb weight-hike to contend with at Ayr, meaning Sue Smith’s gelding will have to shoulder the top weight of 11st12lb. Of the 32 runners to carry 11st or more in the race during the last decade just one claimed victory with a further taking minor medals.

Despite the poor records of Aintree Grand National winners at Ayr, two Scottish National winners since 2000 had taken in handicaps at the Grand National meeting in Liverpool on their previous starts. David Pipe’s Problema Tic – 25/1 for the race with Coral – is once such beast, finishing fourth in the listed John Smith’s Handicap Chase over 3m1f and his liking for Ayr is confirmed thanks to a 3m1f course win, achieved under a chunky 11st10lbs weight.