Sugar Baron is the sweet selection for Scottish Grand National glory at Ayr
Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have battled it out for the National Hunt Trainers' Championship all season and the heavyweight handlers will both unleash major players in Saturday afternoon's Scottish Grand National, which is the feature race on a stellar card at Ayr at 3:55pm.
- Vicente won this race in 2016
- 12 winners since 2000 have carried 11st or less
- Six of the last 14 winners have been aged 10 or above
|Saturday 22nd April - 3.55pm||Odds||Won/Lost||Bet|
|Scottish Grand National|
|Tips||Sugar Baron (each way) Best Bet||@ 20 / 1|
Vicente Aims To Retain Crown, But Premier Bond Heads Betting
Paul Nicholls saddled Vicente to an impressive victory in last year's Scottish Grand National, and he will attempt to be the first horse since Androma in 1985 to win back-to-back renewals of the marathon, but while he will run off the same mark as last year's victory, he will head north of the border on the back of a fall in the Grand National at Aintree two weeks ago, and will be hoping to put in a clear round here, and he has been installed as a 10/1 shot with BetVictor bookmakers.
He was coaxed into the race 12 months ago by Sam Twiston-Davies, and the same tactics are sure to be adopted once again, but he may struggle to bounce back to top form following his first fence fall at Aintree a fortnight ago, and may just find it tough to retain this 3m 7f 176y crown.
Nicky Henderson's Premier Bond is currently the 9/1 favourite with Coral, and he was last seen running a huge race to finish third in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and having only been upped 2lb by the handicapper has to be a player, but he is still a novice and this could just be a bridge too far so early in his chasing career.
Other Fancied Contenders
Arpege D'alene will add more firepower to the Nicholls' charge, but whilst he has shaped like this sort of race will play to his strengths, he has his quirks and is hard to fancy at 10/1 with BetVictor, and it's Neil Mulholland's Southfield Royale who makes more appeal at 10/1 with Ladbrokes, as he has some top form at his best, but was a faller last time out in the aforementioned Kim Muir.
Missed Approach is a 16/1 chance with Paddy Power and has the burden of top weight to carry, but he put up a career best when second at 50/1 in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last month, and if Warren Greatrex can bring him on again could be a real solid each-way player.
Vintage Clouds (16/1) is another that fell last time out, but prior to that tumble in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham he was a fine third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock Park, and has to be considered, while Henri Parry Morgan and Seldom Inn, both 20/1, add more depth to the top half of the market.
Sugar Baron Can Hand Henderson Glory
While most will feel Nicky Henderson's best chance will come in the shape of abovementioned Premier Bond, the Seven Barrows handler will have a real intriguing runner in Sugar Baron, who looks to have a superb chance of going close, and at 20/1 with Paddy Power is a cracking each-way bet.
Dropped 1lb for a fine sixth in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase last month, Sugar Baron will be partnered by Nico de Boinville in Saturday's race, and with stamina looking his strongest suit he could relish this real test, and if he can just produce a round of slicker jumps then could be a huge contender for what shall be a thrilling betting heat for punters to try and decipher.
2017 Scottish Grand National Odds
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