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MIGHTY THUNDER (3.35) can provide a home success in the Coral Scottish Grand National success at Ayr. Lucinda Russell has never had her string in better form and Mighty Thunder came close to landing the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last month when collared close home by well-handicapped Time To Get Up.
He won the Edinburgh National over four miles at Musselburgh, so stamina appears his forte. Quick ground is a concern as Mighty Thunder’s best form has come with some juice underfoot, but that remark applies to many of his rivals.
Iain Jardine’s Cool Mix can run well at a loud price. He beat Sky Pirate over 2m 5f at Wetherby last October and the runner-up bagged the Grand Annual Chase at last month’s Cheltenham festival. Cool Mix has been given a long break and arrives a fresh horse racing off 10st 2lb.
Aye Right is another tartan terror in with a big shout. Harriet Graham’s popular chaser is always knocking on the door and ran third to Vintage Clouds in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Runner-up Happygolucky came out to win in some style at Aintree last week, so the form is very solid.
Vintage Clouds could manage only sixth to Takingrisks in the 2019 Scottish National (re-opposing Big River fifth), racing prominently throughout until tiring in the straight.
Lanarkshire-born Alan King won the race eight years ago with Godsmejudge and saddles Notachance with legitimate claims. The seven-year-old won the 3m 5f Classic Chase at Warwick in January and is fancied to bounce back from a poor effort in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, when reportedly lame after the race.
The home challenge is further strengthened by Dingo Dollar and The Ferry Master, and victory for either would crown a tremendous season for Sandy Thomson. Nick Alexander’s top weight Lake View Lad fell at the first fence in the Aintree Grand National but is usually a safe conveyance.
Merigo won the race twice for Ray Green but his Dino Boy will do well to emulate that success racing 8lb out of the handicap.
With the Irish so dominant in the jumping sphere it would be folly to ignore the claims of Peter Fahy’s Mister Fogpatches, fourth in a hot Leopardstown handicap in which subsequent Aintree Topham winner Livelovelaugh finished runner-up.
Paul Nicholls is poised to clinch his 12th champion UK trainer title and Soldier Of Fortune looked an exciting young novice chaser earlier in the season when enjoying the good ground.
Some Chaos ran fifth in a Listed contest at Wincanton in early November, form which entitles him to respect, especially as ground conditions are in his favour.
TOMMY’S OSCAR (2.25) is progressing at a rate of knots and can give a bold account in the Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle.
The six-year-old has won four times this season since arriving from Ireland and stepped up again at Kelso 22 days ago when beating Christopher Wood and Across The Line.
Milkwood’s third to Belfast Banter in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham was further boosted by the winner’s subsequent success at Aintree, while Calico remains unexposed for the rampaging Dan and Harry Skelton duo.
Bookmakers are treading cautiously in pricing up Irish raider PILBARA (1.50) in the three-mile novices’ handicap chase.
Emmet Mullins’ gelding started favourite for the Guinness Hurdle at Galway in midsummer but managed only fifth to Great White Shark. He looks feasibly treated over fences.
Marown, a three-time course winner for Nicky Richards, would probably prefer a more yielding surface but should go well under his big weight..
Five Star Getaway has been clobbered with a 15lb rise for his Haydock success and Informateur may pose a bigger threat after scoring with some authority last time for Sue Smith. Mac Tottie has won six times for Peter Bowen and cannot be discounted either.
There is some top-class Flat action at Newbury, kicking off with a mile maiden on the straight course. DERAB (1.00) finished runner-up to La Barrosa on his only start at Ascot last September and that form was given a huge boost when the winner ran stable companion Master Of The Seas close in the Craven Stakes.
Richard Hannon’s Snow Lantern, the daughter of former stable star Sky Lantern, was also second on her only start at Ascot last July and is another potentially smart sort.
William Haggas has his string in top order and AL AASY (1.35) looks one for favourite backers in the 1m 4f Group 3 John Porter Stakes.
His colt, a dual Newmarket winner last summer, hasn’t been seen since disappointing in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood when something was amiss. Chief market rival Deja is best with some cut underfoot, a remark which applies similarly to Scottish raider Euchen Glen.
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