Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:35 16/04/2015
39 Horses went to post for last weekend's Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree in one of the most open races of the National Hunt season, but Ayr stage what looks to be an even harder conundrum to solve in the shape of the four mile one hundred and ten yards Coral Scottish Grand National, due to be run at 3.45pm on Saturday afternoon.
While AP McCoy's final ride in the world's most famous race, Shutthefrontdoor, was sent off a well-backed 6-1 favourite the Scottish marathon could easily see a double-figure market leader as bookmakers struggle to seperate several horses in the early exchanges. Irish Challenger Gallant Oscar and National Hunt Chase runner-up Broadway Buffalo have attracted plenty of support since failing to make the cut for Aintree but the two horses who appeal most at the prices are Trustan Times and Samstown.
The former ran a cracking race to finish third in last year's renewal, beaten less than two lengths despite blundering badly at the first fence, and will be racing off a 2lb lower mark on this occasion. The nine-year-old meets the winner Al Co ( first fence faller in last week's National ) on 7lb better terms and while the son of Heron Island has not produced his best this winter the mount of Wilson Renwick came good at this time last year and a return to that level would give the Tim Easterby-trained gelding a great chance of keeping the £210k contest in the north.
The other horse who is capable of running well at a big price is Alistair Whillans Samstown, who looked to be crying out for this extreme trip when outstaying the opposition in Haydock's 3m 1f Peter Marsh Chase on desperate ground back in January. The eight-year-old showed that he can handle faster conditions when winning a 3m 3f handicap hurdle at Kelso last year and a recent spin at that venue, again over the smaller obstacles, should have put Brian Harding's mount spot-on and this improving stayer can make his presence felt off a mark of 144.
The other horses to consider are the unexposed Catching On, an early casualty when favourite for the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter, Tony McCoy's mount and Welsh National runner-up Benvolio and the final horse to make the cut, Drop Out Joe, who could go close if jumping better than when second in Doncaster's Grimthorpe Chase on his most recent start.
1 Point each-way Trustan Times 16-1 Skybet and Paddy Power ( 5 places )
1 Point each-way Samstown 28-1 Bet365 and Skybet ( 5 places )