Racing goes north of the border this weekend with the Ayr hosting its Scottish Grand National meeting.
Stefan Fellows previews the action with his best bets for Saturday’s big races.
1.50 Ayr – Scottish Champion Hurdle
Triner Dan Skelton operates at healthy strike rate with his runners here at Ayr and with the yard currently looking to hit top form once more his West Cork is a confident if not original selection.
The gelding posted a fine effort to finish fourth not beaten far in in the County Hurdle and a 1lb rise for that run looks very fair considering how well the likes of State Man and First Street looked to be treated.
The ultra-consistent Onemorefortheroad ran another good race when finishing fourth in the Imperial Cup any drying of the ground could be in his favour and looks to be one of the main dangers along with last seasons winner Ann Bunina who looks to have been targeted for this race once again.
Selection – West Cork
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2.25 Ayr – Future Champions Novice Chase
Paul Nicholls has a decent record in this race and his representative Il Ridoto is fancied to add to his tally here.
A good winner at Newbury early in the season he ran as well as could be expected in the Grand Annual with underfoot conditions going against him. He still managed to travel into that race pretty comfortably and looks to have some potential still away from softer surface.
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The step up in trip should not be a problem given he had form in France over further and he gets to receive weight from a couple of his main rivals.
Do Your Job was a winner here over hurdles and has progressed well to the larger obstacles this season including a second-place finish to Edwardstone in a Grade 2 at Kempton. Conditions look to be ideal and he should be thereabouts.
The McCain/Hughes partnership always have to be respected but Minella Dreamer might just struggle to concede weight to his rivals.
Selection – Il Ridoto
3.35 Ayr – Scottish Grand National
Trainer Christian Williams has a very respectable record with staying chasers and looks to hold a strong hand here in the shape of Kittles Light and Win My Wings who both head the market.
The former looked to be running into form when a good second place in a valuable Kempton handicap when last seen. Hes up 3lbs for that effort which won’t be a problem and could have more to offer over real extreme distances.
That said marginal preference for me is the yards other runner Win My Wings, he was an impressive winner of the Eider Chase when last seen and although he’s been hit with a 8lb rise in the weights for that effort, the excellent Rob James takes over in the saddle and is able to off set most of that being able to claim 7lbs.
The 9-year-old has only had the 7 starts over the larger obstacles and still gives the impression more improvement is likely. Conditions look ideal and he looks to have a rock-solid profile for this type of race.
Fantastikas seemed to be found a little in the jumping department at Cheltenham he`s untried over this far though and it`s an interesting move by connections.
Irish raider Stormy Judge has not shown much in 2 runs this season but it’s likely this has been some what of a long-term plan for his trainer who’s representative last season finished in the frame.
Of those at bigger prices The Wolf makes some appeal running recently as if this type of trip on good ground will suit.
Selection – Win My Wings
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