The focus turns on Ayr Racecourse and the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival this week with the action at Scotland’s premier racecourse getting under way on Friday.
The feature race on the opening afternoon is the £50,000 Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase, a Listed Race, which has attracted 36 entries including horses from most of the leading yards in the country.
Top rated is the Brian Ellison trained Forest Bihan, set to be ridden by Danny Cook, who was fourth in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham last month.
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson’s seven entries are headed by Gold Present whose best form this season is a third behind Politologue in a Grade 2 at Ascot in November. Among Nicky’s other entries is Theinval whose impressive course form includes a win in the Listed two mile chase on the Saturday of this Festival.
Paul Nicholls, who currently leads Henderson by £400,000 in this year’s trainers’ championship, has two entries – Romain de Senam and Tommy Silver who is co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Last year’s winner Dan Skelton’s Value At Risk is a likely runner as is Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Crievehill.
The next confirmation stage for Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National is today (Monday) when North Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith will decide whether to aim Vintage Clouds, third in the race last year, for the £215,000 contest.
The Trevor Hemmings’ owned grey fell at the first fence in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday but could still run in Scotland’s richest race.
Tickets are still available for Ladies Day on Friday and while all Club and Grandstand tickets are sold out for Saturday there is a very limited number of hospitality places available.