Longshot Ted: Nicholls to star at Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr

Paul Nicholls is tipped to have some notable winners at Ayr this weekend.
Paul Nicholls is tipped to have some notable winners at Ayr this weekend.

Ed Quigley picks out some eye-catching selections for Ayr's Scottish Grand National meeting, while has a midweek tip at Cheltenham on Wednesday...

Paul Nicholls is more or less home and hosed in pursuit of his 12th trainers' title, and can fire in a whole host of winners as he takes some strong chances north of the border for the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr.

SOLDIER OF LOVE looks a fair price at 16/1 to land the showpiece event, the Scottish Grand National. The Ditcheat representative hasn't been seen since being pulled-up at Cheltenham in November, on unsuitably soft ground. The key to the horse he must have spring ground, and was a non runner for the National Hunt Chase at the 11th hour after overnight rain put pay to his chances. From a handicapping viewpoint, he still has the potential to be better than a mark of 144; he gave weight and a beating to subsequent Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody at Newton Abbot in September, and ran a cracker when runner up to subsequent National Hunt Chase scorer, Galvin, at Cheltenham the following month. He shapes as though this trip and track will suit, and providing ground conditions are on the quicker side, he looks to have great each-way claims.

Scottish Grand National
Soldier Of Love silk

Soldier Of Love

Pulled Up

I like the freshness angle with TAMAROC DU MATHAN in the Future Champion Novices' Chase. Allmankind sets the standard, but had a hard race at Cheltenham and isn't a guaranteed stayer, stepping up in distance. Tamaroc Du Mathan ran as well as could be expected when he was runner-up to Shishkin at Kempton over the Christmas period, and bolted up in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices' at Kempton last time out, and kept fresh for this, looks a major player here with underfoot conditions that should be in his favour.

Future Champion Novices' Chase
Tamaroc Du Mathan silk

Tamaroc Du Mathan


I am looking for Nicholls to bring up a big race hat-trick at Ayr on Sunday with THYME WHITE looking to land the Scottish Champion Hurdle. He hasn't had races run to suit recently, and has been unlucky with the ground conditions; rain on the morning of the day he took part in the County Hurdle scuppered his chances at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Eased to a mark of 138, and with ground likely to be much more in his favour here, he remains a horse of potential on these terms.

Scottish Champion Hurdle
Thyme White silk

Thyme White


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To more immediate affairs, and there is some quality action at Cheltenham's April meeting which kicks off tomorrow. I think having his sights lowered, ground in his favour, and the cheekpieces being added for the first time all equates to a big run from PYM in the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase. Conditions were far too soft for him at the Festival, and he should be much happier in this environment. He has winning form at this track and could be the value call to get back in the winners enclosure for the Nicky Henderson team.

Silver Trophy Handicap Chase
Pym silk


Pulled Up


Silver Trophy Handicap Chase - Wednesday 14th April - back Pym at 11/1 (generally)

Scottish Grand National - Sunday 18th April - back Soldier Of Love at 16/1 (generally)

Future Champion Novices' Chase - Sunday 18th April - back Tamaroc Du Mathan at 9/4 (generally)

Scottish Champion Hurdle - Sunday 18th April - back Thyme White at 8/1 (generally)

Scottish Grand National Odds
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