Vicente bids for third straight Scottish Grand National victory at Ayr

Vicente pictured winning the Scottish National
Vicente pictured winning the Scottish National

Owner Trevor Hemmings looks to have a strong hand with dual winner Vicente and Vintage Clouds in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday.

Sue Smith's Vintage Clouds agonisingly missed out at Aintree last weekend when, as the next reserve on the list, there were two non-runners - but after the 1pm cut-off point on Friday.

Mick Meagher, Hemmings' racing manager, said: "It was frustrating. When you're fourth reserve you don't expect a run.

"But when three get in, you are next in line and two more come out and you still don't get a run, it's hard to take.

"At least he can run this weekend. Sue says he's in great form and he's run well all season so you'd hope he'd have a chance.

"The forecast is for it to dry up, and that would suit Vicente. Vintage Clouds will go on anything, he has a reputation as a mud-lover but he goes on decent ground too.

"Vicente hasn't had his ground all year, but Paul (Nicholls) had to run him somewhere. He's 4lb higher than last year but he's run well off his new mark before the ground has found him out a few times.

"He looks well and we just hope for a bit of luck in running again. Of course he was declared for Aintree, but when it rained Thursday night into Friday that put paid to it. On good to soft we would have run him."

There are still 43 horses engaged in the Scottish National, with a maximum possible field of 30.

Nicky Henderson's Gold Present will need to defy top weight following the withdrawal of Blaklion, while Beware The Bear is another possible for the Seven Barrows handler.

Blaklion's trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies could run the novice Ballyoptic and last year's respective second and third, Cogry and Benbens.

Colin Tizzard has left in Sizing Codelco, West Approach and The Dutchman, who got as far as the 23rd fence at Aintree before he unseated Harry Cobden.

David Pipe's Daklondike, the Bob Buckler-trained Regal Flow and Alan King's Label Des Obeaux are likely to have plenty of supporters.

Gordon Elliott, searching for his third National this season after winning the Irish and English versions, has Fagan and Folsom Blue, so unlucky at Fairyhouse, still in the mix.

Fine Rightly, Glencairn View, Rogue Angel and Portrait King could also travel from across the Irish Sea.

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