Thursday, 2 April 2015
Irish target Coral Scottish Grand National
By: Iain Ferguson
IRISH training legend Willie Mullins has three entries in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse, as he plots to win Scotland’s richest jumps prize.
[Pictured: On His Own (nearest the camera) is one of the
Willie Mullins entries for the Coral Scottish Grand National.]
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 is run on 18April 18.
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.”
Latest betting from Coral
10 Gallant Oscar, 12 Broadway Buffalo, Catching On, Indian Castle, 14 Cause Of Causes, Embracing Change, If In Doubt, Lie Forrit, The Last Samuri, 16 Al Co, Balthazar King, Benvolio, Cogry, Godsmejudge, Milborough, Sego Success, Trustan Times, 20 Hadrian’s Approach, Heathfield, Houblon Des Obeaux, No Secrets, On His Own, Perfect Gentleman, Rivage D’Or, Royale Knight, Sam Winner, Soll, The Package, Unioniste, 25 Bar
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, including a Class 1 at Kelso last time out, Evan Williams’s 2012 winner of the race Court Minstrel, Sign Of A Victory from the Nicky Henderson stable and John Ferguson’s Sea Lord.
The standard of horse running in the race, which is now in the top 5 richest handicap hurdles run in Britain, looks like being the highest ever with Irving rated 157 and 23 horses rate 140 or higher.
Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “The quality of entries for the Coral Scottish Grand National and QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle is exceptional.
“To see horses from most of the leading trainers including Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King and of course Willie Mullins entered is extremely satisfying.
“The Scottish Grand National has attracted some leading Irish entries and, as it’s a race that they have never won, it adds to the intrigue.
“We have invested a good deal more money in the Scottish Champion Hurdle this year with the help of our sponsors QTS, and have been rewarded with some really classy entries.”
For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.
Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.