15:35 Ayr – Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase
The Scottish Grand National, once known as the West of Scotland Grand National, has been contested since 1858 and originally consisted of mainly stone wall ‘fences’ that were jumped around a course near Houston. It switched to Bogside in 1867 and has called Ayr racecourse its home since 1966.
Vintage Clouds didn’t get past the first fence in the English equivalent at Aintree last weekend but that was an uncharacteristic error and a repeat of his excellent second in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham or last seasons’ third in this race would see him right in the mix here, although it is worth noting that he arrives this year on slightly worse terms. His victor in the Ultima was Beware The Bear who re-opposes today but looks to be up against it at the weights given that there have only been two winners carrying over 11st 3lbs since the turn of the century.
Nicky Richards has a good record at the course and sends Chidswell who arrives in excellent form having won his last two, beating the likes of Dingo Dollar, Brian Boranha and Beau De Brizais with relative ease at Doncaster last month. He needs to prove his stamina over this longer trip and also takes a step up in grade but has good course form and is an extremely consistent performer (has posted a top three finish in eight of his last ten runs) so is taken to continue his progression with another solid run here today.
Mysteree had failed to fire in three runs towards the back end of 2018 but put in a much-improved performance when going down by a neck to the re-opposing Crosspark at Newcastle over four miles in good-to-soft ground in February. A prior winner at the course, albeit over hurdles, he isn’t the most consistent but has proven stamina over extreme distances and is more than capable of making his presence felt if arriving on a good day.
Harry Skelton doesn’t get too many rides outside his brothers’ stable but when he does he is always worth a second glance, especially when riding for Caroline Bailey. He has won four times from nine when riding Crosspark. They team up again here and are difficult to discount for a place at the least.
A final mention goes to Crosshue Boy who won on only previous visit to Ayr, beating Dingo Dollar and ACDC over three miles last April. A winner of four from five between March and April last season, he is yet to scale the same heights as yet this season but having raced twice over hurdles in recent weeks he looks to have been primed for this race and as a result a big run is expected.
CROSSHUE BOY (E/W)
13:25 Ayr – Lillington (E/W)
13:40 Newbury – Young Rascal (WIN) – NAP
13:55 Ayr – Claud And Goldie (E/W)
14:10 Newbury – So Perfect (WIN)
14:25 Ayr – Mister Fisher (WIN)
14:40 Newbury – Boitron (WIN)
15:00 Ayr – Vinndication (WIN)
15:15 Newbury – Red Starlight (E/W)