A market leader hasn’t won the Scottish Grand National since Paris Pike enjoyed the greatest moment of his career at Ayr in 2000, but favourite backers can finally be rewarded again this year with Green Flag.
There isn’t a lot not to like about the profile of the seven-year-old, as he has winning form over distances further than 3m and on his four career starts at Ayr, he has never been out of the first two.
Throw in that last time when receiving 2lb, Green Flag finished only 10 lengths behind Holywell at the Cheltenham Festival and this form has been more than franked since.
Holywell was a Grade 1 winner at Aintree last time when giving a beating to RSA Chase victor O’Faolains Boy, while the Festival runner up Ma Filleule has also won since from a higher mark.
The other horse of interest is the Paul Nicholls-trained Sam Winner at 10/1, who should relish this step up in trip to 4m.
Nicholls also enters this season’s Welsh National third Tidal Bay here and his inclusion means that only 11 horses in the field are in the handicap.
The other notable fact is that it allows Sam Winner to compete from a weight 10st 7lb, rather than lugging an extra stone around Ayr if Tidal Bay was withdrawn.
As for Tidal Bay, in the last decade there have been 22 horses that have headed to Ayr after running in the Grand National and only one has even managed to be placed.
Therefore, the veteran could be worth opposing at 14/1.
An alternate each-way option could well prove the 2013 Scottish National winner Godsmejudge, who can be backed at 16/1.
Both of the former winners to attempt to retain their title in the last decade have finished in the first four on their return to Ayr.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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