Scottish Grand National day at Ayr features the worst headline in Racing Post history (‘Ayr we go’) and a field of 28 competing for a first prize of over £122 grand at 3.35.

It’s an 8-1 the fav event and we have no hesitation in nominating Big River as the one to be with.

Lucinda Russell‘s 9-y-o ran an absolute stormer in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival, coming from miles back to finish fourth on its first run  since last year. Luck is always needed in this contest, but if it has it, Big River should give us a great run for the moulah at 11-1.

We can’t let this race go by without also suggesting a minor e/w bet on a rag, so step forward Kingswell Theatre, which is available at 50-1.

Usually seen plying its trade in the Cross Country events, this 10-y-o is suited by extreme distances and should jump round OK under Ben Poste.

Televised action starts at 1.25 with the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase over 2m and we suggest each way bets on Forest Bihan and Saint Leo in this, both available at 8-1. The first named can do it if it feels like it and the second pick is a potential improver.

The J & D Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase at 1.55 has a field of nine and presents a good opportunity for Onefortheroadtom to show what it’s made of.

Plying its trade over 2 & a half miles so far, Harry Fry‘s 6-y-o is a P-T-P winner, wears pieces for the first time and has the sympathetic Richie McLernon up top. It’s also got a really good handicap mark, so have a decent each way bet at 7-1.

The CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle at 2.25 has Nicky Henderson‘s Mister Fisher installed as favourite at 4-1, but we much prefer one of his other runners, Verdana Blue, which is available at 6-1. The ground, for once, should be perfect for this admirable mare and with Connor Brace taking off a very useful 7lbs, she is set to go close here.

We also suggest an each way play on the Irish challenger Pearl Of The West, who tuned up for this with a spin at Dundalk and is totally unexposed over hurdles. 10-1 are the odds of reward.

Back to fences at 3.00 with the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase and this can be safely left to Alan King‘s improver Ballywood, which is on offer at 2-1. Smash to win, please.

Cameras are also at Newbury, and we have selected two of those races for punting purposes.

The Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (known as the John Porter to you and me) has the look of a match between last year’s hero Defoe and the potentially lethal Young Rascal.

Although saddled with a small penalty, we side with William Haggas‘s charge to continue the improvement at a rate of knots. Have a win bet on Young Rascal at 15-8.

The MansionBet Spring Cup handicap at 3.15 has an impossible look about it with 27 runners over a mile, but we can’t resist a small e/w on Red Starlight at 6-1 to prove her handicap mark lenient.

Happy punting.


Big River 3.35 Ayr 1.5pts e/w @ 11-1 (6 places)
Kingswell Theatre 3.35 Ayr 0.5pts e/w @ 50-1 (6 places)
Forest Bihan 1.25 Ayr 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Saint Leo 1.25 Ayr 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Onefortheroadtom 1.55 Ayr 2pts e/w @ 7-1
Verdana Blue 2.25 Ayr 2pts e/w @ 6-1 (4 places)
Pearl Of The West 2.25 Ayr 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Ballywood 3.00 Ayr 4pts win @ 2-1
Young Rascal 1.40 Newbury 2pts win @ 15-8
Red Starlight 3.15 Newbury 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places)

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