Horse-by-horse guide to the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr

Check out our horse-by-horse guide to the Coral Scottish Grand National
Check out our horse-by-horse guide to the Coral Scottish Grand National

David Ord previews Saturday's Coral Scottish Grand National and fancies Ayr specialist Geronimo to run a huge race for Sandy Thompson.

BEWARE THE BEAR: Back-to-back wins at Cheltenham include a big pay-day in the Ultima at the Festival where he idled before beating Vintage Clouds by a length-and-a-quarter. A nine pounds rise means he needs to defy top weight and produce a career best effort but he's been a revelation in blinkers the last twice and can't be ruled out.

Beware The Bear leads Vintage Clouds over the last at Cheltenham
Beware The Bear leads Vintage Clouds over the last at Cheltenham

SIZING CODELCO: Useful on his day and eighth in this last season but not much encouragement from his two runs this term, including when pulling up behind Beware The Bear last month.

VINTAGE CLOUDS: Turned out quickly after first fence exit in the Randox Health Grand National last week. Stays well and usually a sound jumper, he was third in this race last year but the preparation and an eight pounds higher mark temper enthusiasm slightly this time around.

BLUE FLIGHT: Won three on the bounce before chasing home Some Chaos at Kelso last time. That was still a good effort but unproven at marathon trips and mark is creeping northwards.

DINGO DOLLAR: Back on track when chasing home Chidswell in the Grimthorpe last time and this has been the target all season. Big run is on the cards but he made a couple of costly mistakes at Town Moor and needs to get into a good rhythm early.

CAROLE'S DESTRIER: Stayed on strongly to win valuable veterans' chase at Newbury, his second win there this season. Ground fine and good run in the Classic Chase at Warwick too, but vulnerable to less exposed and younger rivals.

CROSSHUE BOY: Well found in the market and been targeted at this big prize since winning novice handicap chase at meeting last season. Ran well over hurdles at Wexford on his prep race and is coming to the boil at just the right time.

Crosshue Boy (left) beats Dingo Dollar at Ayr
Crosshue Boy (left) beats Dingo Dollar at Ayr

CROSSPARK: Better than ever this season and landed the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February. More needed now from eight pounds higher but stamina guaranteed and the ground is fine.

COGRY: Runner-up in this back in 2017 and proved he's as good as ever when winning at Cheltenham in December. Only a pound higher here having flopped in the Classic Chase at Warwick and another to consider.

SKIPTHECUDDLES: Promises to be suited by marathon trips but didn't get the chance to prove it when unseating rider at the fourth when a big price for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. More unexposed than most but inexperience in big-field chases a worry.

BIG RIVER: Stayed on strongly when fourth to Beware the Bear in the Ultima but he his best form is in smaller fields (that run apart) and not convinced the hurly-burly nature of this will suit.

RED INFANTRY: Won at Haydock in November and been running creditably since from higher marks but might need more testing ground to be at his very best.

IMPULSIVE STAR: Landed the Classic Chase at Warwick but jumped poorly when pulling up in National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on only subsequent start. Stays well will need to be on his A game again.

Impulsive Star wins the Classic Chase at Warwick
Impulsive Star wins the Classic Chase at Warwick

ARTHUR'S GIFT: Didn't seem to get home when pulling up in deep ground in the Midlands National last time and has his stamina to prove here for all there's more to come from him as a staying chaser.

KINGSWELL THEATRE: Made his seasonal reappearance when sixth behind Tiger Roll in Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham where he set a strong gallop before fading three out. That run suggests the ability is still there but others look more solid.

BRIAN BORANHA: One of the livelier outsiders after a good run when third to Chidswell in the Grimthorpe. He's a potential improver over staying trips such as this and he's a strong traveller who will give a good account.

TAKINGRISKS: Won here over hurdles here in November and struck over the larger obstacles at Carlisle last time. Promises to be suited by trips such as this but cheekpieces need to have the same effect for a second time here from a six pounds higher mark.

CLOTH CAP: Completely unexposed over fences having only had three starts, winning the last two of them at Stratford and Catterick. 134 looks a very workable mark and he's a potential player here if his jumping holds up to by far it's stiffest test.

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CHIDSWELL: Raised seven pounds for winning the Grimthorpe which will make things tough but at least he arrives here right at the top of his game and from the foot of the handicap.

MYSTEREE: Went close to repeating his 2017 win in the Eider when beaten a neck by Crosspark, first-time blinkers sparking a revival. They'll need to work again though from a pound out of the handicap.

BEAU DE BRIZAIS: Represents top team but beaten 17 lengths by Chidswell in the Grimthorpe and the tendency to make mistakes remains a worry.

RATHLIN ROSE: Landed decent Ascot heat for second successive season last time and still capable at the age of 11 but stamina has to be a concern here as three-and-a-half miles has seemed his upper limit in the past.

ACDC: Well held when last of four behind Blue Flight at Kelso last time but that was a very stiff task and still not completely exposed over fences.

CHIC NAME: Seems to thrive at this time of the year and beat Joe Farrell at Newbury last time. Not out of this despite being two pounds out of the handicap.

GERONIMO: Another two pounds wrong at the weights but he's in the form of his life right now. He goes well here having won his last two starts at the track, promises to relish this stiff test of stamina and there's more improvement to come. A big player.

MORNEY WING: In good form this season and has already won one National, the London equivalent at Sandown. Four pounds out of the handicap here though and the percentage call has to be to look elsewhere.

DOING FINE: Ground has come right for him and fourth in the race last season. He's five pounds wrong at the weights this time but still not entirely discounted.

VAN GOGH DU GRANIT: Chased home stablemate Rathlin Rose at Ascot on only his second start for the Pipe team and its still early days with this project but big leap forward needed here.


VERDICT

A devilishly difficult race as ever. A tentative vote goes to GERONIMO despite being out of the handicap. He goes particularly well around here, is thriving right now and promises to improve again for the step up in trip. Cloth Cap is a fascinating runner and capable of going well if not undone by his inexperience while Doing Fine and Brian Boranha appeal as the types to go well at a big price.


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