IRISH training legend Willie Mullins has three entries in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr as he plots to win Scotland’s richest jumps prize.
They are the Andrea and Graham Wylie owned On His Own, fifth in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Perfect Gentleman, fourth in the National Hunt Chase at the same track and Are Ya Right Chief, who was well down the field in the cross country race in the Cotswolds.
Rivage d’Or from the Tony Martin yard, winner of that race, is entered as is Jim Dreaper’s Goonyella, winner of the Midlands Grand National.
The Irish account for 20 of the 93 entries in the £210,000 contest, which will be run on Saturday 18 April.
Paul Nicholls holds six entries, some also entered for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree, and Sire Collonges would appear to be his most likely Ayr Runner.
Other leading trainers with entries include Nicky Henderson, who could be represented by Hadrian’s Approach, Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King, David Pipe and Gordon Elliott.
Tony McCoy who could well make his last-ever appearance on a Scottish racecourse on Scottish Grand National day will have several possible horses to ride as JP McManus holds a few entries.
Top Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell’s intended runner is Lie Forrit, owned by the late Campbell Gillies’s mother and grandfather, which would be a very popular winner with the crowd.
Coral spokesman Simon Clare said: “We are thrilled with the quality and quantity of the entries for the Coral Scottish Grand National.
“The race is always one of the top five biggest betting turnover races of the year and attracts one of the largest Channel 4 audiences so can rightly be regarded as one of racing’s crown jewels.”
The main supporting race on Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday is the £100,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle and the highest rated of the 44 entries is Irving from the Paul Nicholls yard. Other notables at this stage include Nicky Richards’ Glingerburn – winner of all four of his hurdle races.
Today’s Wolverhampton card is not necessarily for the faint-hearted but perhaps Rise To Glory can give punters something to cheer about. The seven-year-old is well acclimatised to the Dunstall Park terrain as he has won four times at the track over various distances.
Shaun Harris’s entry has hitherto had a quiet year, though, and has hardly looked like a winner in waiting. But that theory was realigned slightly at Chelmsford on 18 March when he showed some semblance of a return to form in a tight five-furlong handicap.
Rise To Glory was not fancied in the market, but he outran big odds to get to within a length and three-quarters of the winner, Flying Bear. That run should be upgraded a little as he was denied his preferred front-running role from an early stage.
In a race lacking any discernible strength in depth, Rise To Glory could feasibly be afforded a soft lead as he races on the same mark off which he won so well at Chepstow last September.
Marco Botti has started the season in good nick and the Newmarket handler can expect to see Galileano find her stride in the 32Red.com Apprentice Handicap. The three-year-old daughter of Galileo has steadily improved in two tries on the all-weather this year, with a solid effort at Dunstall Park a few weeks ago offering plenty of optimism for the future.
Galileano chased home the above-average Rosenbaum in a mile-and-a-half handicap and though she again faces some strong Godolphin rivals, this looks a nice opportunity for her.
She may be back up to a mark of 55, but it would be a bit of a surprise if Botti’s inmate did not prove better than that.
Tizlove Regardless should be supported in the coral.co.uk Handicap.
Mark Johnston’s four-year-old may be running from out of the handicap against some bang-in-form rivals, but he may have a little more scope than the rest.
Scottish National betting:
10-1 Gallant Oscar
12-1 Broadway Buffalo
14-1 Cause Of Causes
If In Doubt
The Last Samuri
16-1 Al Co