Andrew Mount provides his analysis and best bets for Scottish Grand National day at Ayr
AZZURI, pulled out of the Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree last week because of soft ground, looks the answer to the Listed Scotty Brand Handicap Chase (1.25). He hasn’t shown much in three runs since returning to the Dan Skelton yard but looks to have been laid out for a spring campaign and wind surgery could make the difference. The seven-year-old has always been at his best in spring/summer with form figures for this yard of 312212911310 (5-12) outside of the November to February period. The handicapper may have been naive in dropping him from a mark of 144 to 132 after this year’s three quick runs and is only 1lb higher than when hacking up by ten lengths in Ireland last summer.
ANEMOI has a good record when fresh and can be backed on his return from a near eight-week break in the Cpms Scottish Champion Hurdle (2.25). He’s has a wind operation since February’s third to Capitaine at Taunton and trainer Harry Whittington is in excellent form. He was only fifth of 15 when I fancied him for the bumper at this meeting last year but he did too much too soon and actually fared best of those who raced up with the pace.
CASTAFIORE, another who failed to take up an engagement at Aintree last week, holds decent claims in the 2m4f Grade 2 Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champions Novices’ Chase (3.00). She was only seventh in the JLT at the Cheltenham festival but the undulations wouldn’t have suited and she’s best judged on her flat-track figures of 112 (2-3), with the latest win coming in Grade 2 company at Haydock.
CROSSHUE BOY, whose seven wins under Rules have all come between March and October, caught the eye when keeping on into third in a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Wexford last week and looks to have been laid out for a crack at the Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (3.35). The nine-year-old landed the valuable three-mile novices’ handicap chase at this meeting last year and is still relatively lightly raced for his age. He rarely encounters his preferred good ground in Ireland and, though 6lb higher than last year, could still be ahead of his mark.
Azzuri – Ayr 1.25 (2pts win, 7-2 generally, including Coral and Ladbrokes)
Anemoi – Ayr 2.25 (0.5pts each-way, 20-1 William Hill, five places)
Castafiore – Ayr 3.00 (1pt win, 7-1 generally, including William Hill)
Crosshue Boy – Ayr 3.35 (2pts win, 1pt place, 9-1 generally, use a firm paying six places such as Skybet, Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill)
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