Nicky Henderson’s Beware The Bear has been allocated top weight of 11st 12lb in the £215,000 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 13 April.
The nine year-old won the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham last month and the horse which finished fourth that day – Lucinda Russell’s Big River is also set to run at Ayr, where he has been given 10st 6lb to carry.
Henderson has never trained the winner of a Scottish Grand National and will be hoping he can put that right with the lightly-raced gelding who also won at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Sponsors Coral have Beware The Bear as a 16-1 chance while Big River is at 14-1.
Last year’s winner Joe Farrell (10st 11llb), who may still run at Aintree on Saturday, is the 8-1 favourite with Alan King’s Dingo Dollar (10st 13lb) sitting at 10-1.
Crosshue Boy, who won the £100,000 novices’ handicap chase at the meeting last year, goes for the big one this time . He carries 10st 8lb and is rated a 25-1 shot.
The main supporting race is the £105,000 CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle and Ch’tibello, who won the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, heads the weights for that with 11st 10lb.
Meanwhile,Kelso Racecourse chiefs are hoping that history repeats itself on Monday, when all three of the trainers responsible for Scotland’s Grand National runners have entries at the Borders track. Two years ago, One for Arthur paraded at Kelso two days after his Aintree success.
Lucinda Russell, who is preparing One For Arthur to bid for an historic second victory, has entries in six of the seven races on Kelso’s programme.
The bookies rate Lakeview Lad, a previous Kelso winner, as Scotland’s best chance of lifting the Grand National trophy. Nick Alexander, who trains the grey gelding for owner Trevor Hemmings, could be represented in the opening race on Buccleuch Cup Day by Elvis Mail, who ran well to be placed in the Grade 2 Premier Hurdle at Kelso last month. The Fife based trainer has also entered course specialist Landecker, a six-time winner at his favourite track, in the Duncan & Margaret Sinclair Memorial Hurdle.
Selkirk based Stuart Coltherd saddles Captain Redbeard in the big race on Saturday. He’ll be hot to trot following his victory in the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase in February and a close third to Blue Flight in the Premier Steeplechase in March. Coltherd could saddle Mrs Vonn in the Borders Carers Centre Handicap Chase.