The Scottish Grand National meeting is a huge occasion here in the north and it is really important to keep the Scottish National in Scotland if we can. It means so much more to Scottish Owners, Trainers and jockeys to win this race and it’s a realistic target. If we can keep it in Scotland for another year it would be superb.
1.50 AYR – DOYEN BREED
DOYEN BREED’s last two runs have been in Grade 2’s and he has been second both times, not beaten huge distances and bumping into nice horses. He hates heavy ground and that’s what it turned at Ascot, so he ran a cracker. I schooled him on Thursday morning and he is in absolutely terrific form so he’s really good to go. He will appreciate the better ground and although it’s a competitive race he is back in a handicap and hopefully we can go and run a good race.
The one I fear most is Sounds Russian from Ruth Jefferson’s yard. He’s been very impressive in his last couple of victories. I wouldn’t be too worried about Dusart as it is so hard to come from Cheltenham and win a race so soon like this one. It will take a fair bit of winning but if we can be in the first three, I will be over the moon.
3.35 AYR – THE FERRY MASTER
THE FERRY MASTER ran a great race last year having not had the greatest of preparations and it’s a race that will haunt Sean Quinlan as I told him not to hit the front to soon and he took me on at the top of the home straight and probably got me beat too (on board runner-up Dingo Dollar).
He is a horse that’s needs holding up and get there as late as you can. I didn’t manage to do that at Newcastle last time in his prep run when the race fell apart and I got there too soon and got beat when we should have won. He doesn’t like to be in front too long.
All the prep has gone perfectly this time and am looking forward to seeing how this horse runs and Ayr are avoiding all the rain at present which will help us as the better ground the better for him so am really looing forward to it as we have a realistic chance.
It really isn’t a strong renewal, with the Grand National happening after this race this year it has kept people away and it really isn’t the strongest of Scottish Nationals, so he is certainly in there with a great shout.
It is a shame that Hill Sixteen isn’t in the actual Grand National as his 9lb rise for last time would get him into the race now but not when the weights were framed as he was too low so now he has to carry top weight here. I don’t want to sound negative but it wouldn’t be his race sadly as he needs soft ground and he wont really enjoy the plainness of four miles around Ayr. I was keen for him to go for the cross-country at Cheltenham and the likes and that’s why he ran so well in the Becher Chase as he likes the different track and fences so they’ll be the sort of targets for next year. I think it’s a big ask to go and run a big race off top weight in this.
Vintage Clouds will need to bounce back from a bit of a flop at Cheltenham but he is in his last season and this will be his last run before retirement so would be great to see him run a big race.
Win My Wings was superb when she won the Eider with me and connections were adamant they wanted to claim off her in this as she’ll need all the help she can get. She isn’t very big and she did have a very hard race in the Eider but Christian Williams is great with these staying chasers so you’d hope he’d have her freshened up and sweetened up and ready to go.
4.10 AYR – BASS ROCK
BASS ROCK is a lovely horse who hasn’t run for a while. He has had his little niggles and once he’d missed one or two of his targets, we thought we’d get him ready for this race that he won last year, and he goes there a fresh horse in tremendous form. He had a racecourse gallop last week which should set him spot on. He is an exciting animal and hopefully we can keep him in one piece as he’ll be a nice novice chaser for next year.
4.45 AYR – DEMOCRATIC OATH
I can’t ride in the Conditional jockeys contest (it’s been a while since I was claiming) but Jack Hogan, a lad who has been riding really well this year will take the ride on DEMOCRATIC OATH, a horse I have ridden plenty.
He has been rather disappointing to be honest as he is a horse with a big engine, and I thought had a bright future at the start of the season. He ran well in a novice chase when 12lb wrong at the weights and that was an impressive run and would have come on for it but his two runs since have been terrible. We can’t work out why and he needs to bounce back to what we know ability he has, we just don’t know why he isn’t finishing his races. If he did show his old form then he would take quite a bit of beating but nothing has popped up out of the ordinary so maybe he’s just moody and hopefully he gets out of bed the right side.
5.15 AYR – CAPTAIN NELSON
I am actually really looking forward to CAPTAIN NELSON in the bumper. Mike Smith bought him a while back and a has brought him on steadily and is a nice horse for the future. I am not sure how straight he is in terms of how he will run first time out at Ayr but he is a really nice type and looking forward to seeing how he gets on and is one to keep an eye on certainly for next year if not this weekend.
Jimmy’s Jet is a horse with an engine. I gave him a gallop around Musselburgh the other day. He has already won a bumper and the owner wanted to keep Callum Bewley having won on him which is fair enough and he goes there with a chance. It is difficult to win these races at Ayr with a penalty with the southern runners up and will be happy to see him finishing the first four.