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Coral Scottish Grand National guide

| 20.04.2023
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A look ahead to Ayr’s big race

The Coral Scottish Grand National is one of the highlights of the closing weeks of the National Hunt season, where the staying chasers who excel over marathon distances travel to the west coast of Scotland to do battle.  

It is the feature of ITV Racing’s coverage on Saturday with the race, which is also broadcast on Racing TV, set to go off at 3.35pm. 

What is the Coral Scottish Grand National? 

Ayr’s biggest National Hunt day of the year is also Scotland’s most valuable jumps contest with up to £150,000 in prize money up for grabs and plenty of prestige on offer to the winner.   

The race is run over four miles and 27 fences and often offers a chance for those that have slogged it out in the mud all winter to enjoy some spring ground under their hooves and excel in optimum conditions.  

It is also the fourth biggest race in terms of betting turnover in Britain, underlying the race’s standing within the sport.  

Who has won the Coral Scottish Grand National in the past? 

There is a distinguished roll of honour for Ayr’s big race and it has not been uncommon for the contest to attract those that have tasted success in its English, Welsh or Irish equivalent.  

The most famous of all Coral Scottish Grand National winners has to be Red Rum, who did the Grand National/Scottish Grand National double in 1974, while Little Polveir, Earth Summit and Music Hall are others to win at both Aintree and Ayr.  

Which trainers do well in the Coral Scottish Grand National? 

Paul Nicholls waited 19 years from his first Coral Scottish Grand National victory in 1997 to strike again, but Vicente’s back-to-back victories in 2016 and 2017 make him one of two current trainers on three wins in the race. 

Paul Nicholls, horse racing, Coral Scottish Grand National

The other handler is Nigel Twiston-Davies, who sent out Captain Dibble (1992) and Earth Summit (1994) to win the race, before Hello Bud (2009) made it a hat-trick for the Naunton handler in the hands of Paddy Brennan.  

Twiston-Davies is someone who targets the race annually and has also seen his Blue Flight hit the frame in 2019, while his Ballyoptic and Cogry were beaten by the barest of margins into second in 2018 and 2017 respectively.   

In 2021 Scottish handler Lucinda Russell won her first Coral Scottish Grand National with Mighty Thunder, ridden by Coral ambassador Tom Scudamore, with trainers from north of the border responsible for five of the first seven home.  

As well as Russell, other Scottish trainers of note include Sandy Thomson, Alan King and Nick Alexander.  

Lucinda Russell, Tom Scudamore, Coral Scottish Grand National

What type of horse does well in the Coral Scottish Grand National? 

Unlike its Welsh equivalent that often requires a real grinder to slog it out in testing deep winter mud, the ground at Ayr is often on the good side, so those who relish a sound surface and some spring sun on their back often come to the fore in the Coral Scottish Grand National.  

Nevertheless, the four-mile trip means non-stayers need not apply and you will still require plenty of stamina combined with a sound jumping technique which will withstand 27 fences to triumph in the Coral Scottish Grand National.  

It is also a race which doesn’t discriminate against age and in the last 10 editions, two 11-year-olds and a 10-year-old have triumphed on the Scottish coast.  

Who could win this year’s Coral Scottish Grand National? 

Christian Williams, Coral Scottish Grand National, horse racing

Christian Williams dominated last year’s race as Win My Wings led home stablemate Kitty’s Light and the latter is the favourite to go one better in the Coral Scottish Grand National betting.

Monbeg Genius finished third behind Corach Rambler at Cheltenham in March and that form looks better following the Grand National on Saturday when Russell’s Corach Rambler was an impressive winner.

Russell is now aiming for an Aintree and Ayr double and has one of the leading contenders in Your Own Story as well as Mighty Thunder.

Gordon Elliott’s Gevrey and Gavin Cromwell’s Malina Girl are the leading Irish contenders while hopes of a home win for Scotland are boosted by the presence of the Thomson pair of Flower Of Scotland and Empire Steel.

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All odds and market correct at date of publication

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Author

Adam Morgan