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BARRY Ferguson is unlikely ever to look back with pride on his behaviour over the last few weeks, but the hard-line attitudes adopted of late towards the former Rangers and Scotland captain are clearly softening.
WINNING the Scottish Grand National doesn't normally earn a jockey his P45, but it's perhaps just as well the autograph hunters ensured Charlie Huxley got plenty of practice writing his name after he'd steered Iris De Balme to a shock victory at Ayr.
THE sound of silence is one of the saddest occurrences in sport, as it is most often heard when unexpected defeat occurs.
TRAINERS who feared bottomless ground for Saturday's Scottish Grand National may sleep a little bit easier in their beds tonight.
PAUL Nicholls and Ruby Walsh suffered their second major reverse of the week as Master Minded was eclipsed by Voy Por Ustedes in the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree, but the top team quickly made up for it with a sparkling treble.
WHERE have all the horses gone? That's the question Ayr officials must have been asking themselves when they saw the final declarations for the opening afternoon of this year's Scottish Grand National meeting.
AYR have turned on the taps to ensure the best possible going for Saturday's Scottish Grand National.
FERDY Murphy's high hopes for Joes Edge in the Grand National ended in disappointment, but the Yorkshire-based trainer will head up to Ayr on Saturday confident of winning the Scottish version with Nine De Sivola.
A MAXIMUM field of 30 will fight out tomorrow's Scottish Grand National, with two hopeful reserves standing by just in case and five would-be contenders forced to look elsewhere after being deemed surplus to requirements.
SATURDAY'S Scottish National will be the richest race ever run north of the Border and the two-day meeting looks set to get off to a flyer tomorrow with top southern stables sending plenty of runners and top riders in action.
GERMAN television is to get its first taste of the Scottish Grand National, when Saturday's big race goes out live to the sports-mad country - hosted in a Munich studio by an Ayrshiremen in a kilt.
SCHADENFREUDE always comes across as such a negative emotion, yet when those whose misfortune the rest of us are allowed to make merry about belong to the bookmaking fraternity, it's not only acceptable, but almost compulsory.
A NOTABLE spirit known as McKibbin's Dark could be quaffed as the toast at Ayr on Saturday - should Another Rum win the Scottish Grand National. The horse, which was third in the race last year and a late withdrawal from last weekend's Grand National at Aintree, is trained by Ian Duncan in the village of Crumlin, County Antrim.
AYR opens its Scottish Grand National meeting tomorrow with a cracking warm-up card and Greenhope could be the bet of the day.
IN THE wake of all the excitement and drama of yesterday’s Grand National at Aintree, Ayr plays host to the Scottish equivalent next Saturday.
THE Scottish Grand National isn’t the only race that Paul Nicholls holds the key to at Ayr over the next couple of days - the Somerset handler should also have a major influence on events at the Craigie course this afternoon.
GUNTHER McBRIDE sidestepped last week’s Grand National at Aintree to wait for the Scottrish Grand National (3.30pm) at Ayr tomorrow and the move can pay off.
SHOTGUN Willy, pulled up after being sent off favourite for the Grand National, is highly unlikely to mount a quick recovery mission in the Scottish version at Ayr this weekend.