DCSIMG

Green Flag set to be Scottish favourite at Ayr

The photographer gets a worm's eye view of the racing at Ayr racecourse in November 1990. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The photographer gets a worm's eye view of the racing at Ayr racecourse in November 1990. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • by MARTIN HANNAN
 

IF you haven’t already bought your ticket for the £200,000 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr racecourse next Saturday, you had better hurry, as sources at the track are predicting a sell-out

That will mean huge demand for the club stand in particular, and you really would be well advised to go online or call the course and book your ticket now.

The Coral Scottish Grand National Festival starts at Ayr on Friday, and while that’s a cracking card in itself, Saturday looks like being one of the best-ever days at the course.

The big race at 3:50pm looks likely to have a maximum field of 30 runners and the favourite with sponsors Coral at the time of writing is Mendip Express, trained by Harry Fry in Dorset, at 8/1.

Novice steeplechasers have won the Coral Scottish Grand National in the past, and with three wins from five outings over the bigger obstacles, Mendip Express has a real chance at the weights.

Of Milnathort-based trainer Lucinda Russell’s entries, Green Flag looks to be the one to be on after his fine fourth to Holywell – a winner on Friday at Aintree – in a handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Green Flag will be more than a patriotic punt, and would crown a fabulous season for Russell, who is on course to break Len Lungo’s record of training 63 National Hunt winners in a season.

Last year’s winner, the Alan King trained Godsmejudge, will aim to be the first horse to win back-to-back Scottish Nationals since Androma in 1984 and 1985, but he has had a disappointing season, being pulled up in his last two outings.

It would be no surprise, however, if his Scottish trainer got him right in time for the Coral Scottish Grand National.

There’s a real bonus possible for the chief supporting race on National day. My Tent Or Yours could run in the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle. The Nicky Henderson trained, JP McManus owned, AP McCoy ridden horse finished second in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and will attempt to go one better in the Scottish equivalent on Saturday.

With more than £530,000 in prize money on offer over the two day festival, there will be big fields throughout with many Irish raiders crossing the sea in search of riches.

There may yet be some of those whose Aintree Grand National finished early yesterday who will come north for Scotland’s biggest jumps race, but Green Flag looks the type for Ayr’s four mile marathon and is an each-way selection.

 

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