Irish eyes on Ayr prize

Trainer Gordon Elliott is targteing the Scottish Grand National with Cause Of Causes. Picture: PA Wire
Trainer Gordon Elliott is targteing the Scottish Grand National with Cause Of Causes. Picture: PA Wire
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Cause Of Causes and Measureofmydreams are joint-favourites with the sponsors after featuring among 103 entries for the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on 16 April.

Gordon Elliott’s dual Cheltenham Festival winner Cause Of Causes is being targeted at the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday week, but is far from certain to make the cut.

Measureofmydreams, third in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, is one of a number of entries for Willie Mullins, with Ballycasey, Boston Bob and On His Own other potential raiders from Closutton.

The Irish challenge could also include Monday’s Irish Grand National one-two Rogue Angel and Bless The Wings.

Last year’s Aintree hero Many Clouds is on the huge list, but all roads at this stage lead to the big one as he bids to become the first dual Grand National winner since Red Rum.

Many Clouds is not the only Aintree-bound horse to have the Ayr marathon as a back-up option, with the likes of Shutthefrontdoor, The Last Samuri, The Druids Nephew and Unioniste also in the mix for both races. Scottish trainer Sandy Thomson has entered stable star Seeyouatmidnight.

There are 51 horses in contention for the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle on the same afternoon.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained The New One is one of the star names, while Mullins has six possible runners, including Clondaw Warrior and Sempre Medici.

Meanwhile, Aguerooo can continue his sensational progress with victory in the Handicap today.

Richard Hannon’s three-year-old was rated a lowly 64 when kicking off his winning spree at Chelmsford in late December, but having won four of his seven starts in the subsequent three months, he is now some 30lb higher.

He stepped up markedly in grade for the big sprint on All-Weather Championships Finals Day last week, but was certainly not outclassed, beaten just two lengths into eighth position.

Aguerooo returns to handicap company in a bid to secure his first win at Dunstall Park and apprentice jockey Hollie Doyle, who has steered him to three victories since the turn of the year, getting back on board to take some valuable weight off his back.

He faces three pretty smart rivals, but should be up to the task.