Scottish Grand National: Our tips for Ayr

ONLY a week separates this Saturday’s Scottish Grand National from its Aintree counterpart, but this year’s race at Ayr Racecourse has a definitive character of its own, and is undoubtedly one of the racing season’s highlights.

The Scotsman takes a look at some of the runners likely to make an impression on the racecourse, and perhaps your pocket if you feel lucky.

Merigo, 7/1

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Of Merigo’s chances, The Scotsman’s Martin Hannan said last week: “Merigo [is currently] priced at 12/1, and I think those are amazingly generous odds.” Those odds have since been shortened to 7/1, which gives some indication of how well the bookies think this Andrew Parker-trained horse might fare. Also worth bearing in mind that Merigo won this race in 2010.

Harry The Viking, 6/1

Harry The Viking, part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and trained by Paul Nicholls, is the bookies’ top tip to finish at the front on Saturday; based on current form, Nicholls’ horse has a lot going for it, but it may be more sensible to look for longer odds on more experienced runners.

Junior, 10/1

After emerging from a bruising race at the National, Junior may not be on top form for this Saturday’s soiree. That said, this is a horse for the big ocassion; a previous winner at both the Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival. Moreover, jockey Tom Scudamore has been effusive about the horse’s “intelligence and bravery”.

Galaxy Rock, 12/1

Jockey AP McCoy will mount his first horse since falling from Synchronised in last weekend’s Grand National; Galaxy Rock looks a strong bet at 12/1, which, given the proximity of the race and the horse’s noted stamina, looks like good value for money.