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Just four days after the Aintree showpiece, Ayr host Scotland’s biggest two days of National Hunt Racing, with the Scottish Grand National Festival taking place on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th April. We will have runner by runner previews for all fifteen races across the two day meeting.
The opening day is known as ‘Ladies Day’ and is a warm up for the big day itself twenty four hours later. A Listed Handicap Chase over an extended two and a half miles is the feature contest of the day, a competitive affair won last year by Dan Skelton’s quirky, yet talented, Value At Risk.
Saturday is where the action is turned up a notch, with the Scottish Champion Hurdle and Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase both worth six figure sums in prize money this season.
But the feature is undoubtedly the Scottish Grand National itself. The four mile test tends not to be quite as gruelling as the Aintree equivalent, given that ground conditions are often less stamina sapping. Paul Nicholls will be chasing a fourth win in the race, which would put him level with Ken Oliver as the winning-most trainer of the event at Ayr.
The Future Champion Novices’ Chase is the only Grade 2 of the weekend over the larger obstacles and it has produced some very smart winners in recent years. Pacha Du Polder, Radjhani Express and Cloudy Dream are just a few to name.
It’s an unmissable couple of days racing that really lights up the Scottish National Hunt season.