The Coral Scottish National hasn’t been run in its traditional slot for three years now. First there was the initial lockdown due to Covid-19, meaning no Scottish National in 2020, while last year’s contest was moved to the Sunday out of respect for Prince Philip’s funeral.
This time around the timing of Easter has seen the race brought forward fully two weeks and therefore before Aintree, causing an unusual situation. Some trainers on the cusp of getting in at Liverpool have to decide whether they chance their arm and wait to see if they get in the £1million spectacular a week later – but if that’s unlikely perhaps they’re better off focusing on the £85,000 first prize at Ayr?
Two of the horses with the dilemma as to whether to go to the Scottish National this weekend are John McConnell’s Go Another One (number 45 on the list for Aintree) and Henry Daly’s Fortescue (47); it’s touch and go for both as to whether they get in at Liverpool, with the latter particularly interesting for the English National seeing as he looks a strong stayer who would be 4lb well-in from the bottom of the weights.
As well as this, the Grand National meeting as a whole has been a launchpad for Scottish National winners over the years. Red Rum might be the only horse to win both races in the same season (in 1974), but it’s only five years since Vicente won at Ayr on the back of running in the Grand National – even if he did fall at the very first fence at Aintree.
It’s not just the Grand National that has been the last stop for Ayr winners at Aintree, however.
Martin Pipe’s Take Control was fifth in a 3m1f handicap chase at the National meeting in 2002 before winning the Scottish National, while Joes Edge won a 2m4f novices’ handicap chase at Aintree in 2005 before landing the Ayr showpiece a week later.
The ground is Good to Soft and, with a largely dry forecast (just a few light showers are predicted Wednesday and Thursday), it’s likely that description will stand come Saturday afternoon, but whether the race will resemble a usual Scottish National remains to be seen.
With just 31 entries left in at the five-day stage it looks highly unlikely we’ll be getting a maximum field of 30 that used to be pretty much the norm. The last two renewals have had 22 and 23 runners and we could be looking at something similar this weekend – so with the ground riding spring-like a less gruelling style National looks a strong possibility.
The tempo set will be key, then, with prominent racers like Vintage Clouds, Fantastikas, Via Dolorosa, Chirico Vallis and One More Fleurie tasked with setting the gallop. There are a posse of interesting horses in here that aren’t quite proven over such a marathon trip – and you might not need a proven slogger to prevail.
Although all eyes may be looking towards Aintree, before that epic showdown, the 2022 The Coral Scottish Grand National is taking place at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday, 2nd April.
For the last couple of years, Scottish National hasn’t been run in its traditional slot; firstly there was the initial lockdown due to Covid-19, meaning no Scottish National in 2020, while last year’s contest was moved to the Sunday out of respect for Prince Philip’s funeral.
This time around the timing of Easter has seen the race brought forward fully two weeks and therefore before Aintree, causing an unusual situation and has resulted in that some trainers have pulled out of Ayr to focus on Aintree. And in someway you can see why considering that the prize money at Aye is £85,000 vs £1m at Aintree. Also, a horse can’t run in both races so it has to be one or the other.
The Scottish Grand National has a maximum of 30 runners and at 3m7f and 27 fences to be jumped, it’s a test of endurance.
The top weight at Ayr is 11-10 and for 2022 the number one horse that will carry it is Hill Sixteen.
Scottish Grand National runners and riders
- Hill Sixteen – M.M.MacDonagh (5)
- Vintage Clouds – Sean Quinlan
- Kitty’s Light – Jack Tudor
- Fantastikas – Sam Twiston-Davies
- Fidux – Daryl Jacob
- Jersey Bean – Brendan Powell
- Win My Wings – Rob James (7)
- Ashtown Lad – Harry Skelton
- The Wolf – Adrian Heskin
- Streets Of Doyen – Kieren Buckley (5)
- Stormy Judge – Danny Mullins
- Via Dolorosa – Tom Scudamore
- Prime Venture – Adam Wedge
- Chrico Vallis – Richie McLernon
- Innisfree Lad – Brian Hughes
- One More Fluerie – Charlie Todd (3)
- Major Dundee – Tom Cannon
- History Of Fashion – Phillip Enright
- Court Master – Richard Patrick
- Ask A Honey Bee – Connor Brace
- The Ferry Master – Ryan Mania
- El Paso Wood – Philip Armson (7)
- Cool Mix – Alan Doyle (7)
- Strong Economy – Derek Fox