Scottish Grand National

Russell hoping Big River can bring home Ayr prize

Kinross trainer Lucinda Russell is hoping she has the horse that can fulfil her ambitions to win the Scottish Grand National.

She saddles Big River for this year’s Ayr showpiece and believes that conditions are just right for her to clinch her first victory in the race after 20 years in the business.

Russell won the Grand National at Aintree two years ago with One for Arthur, who finished sixth in this year’s renewal.

“In Big River I think we have a horse that can do it,” she said. “It has always been one of my great hopes to win the Scottish National. It takes a different type of horse to win the Scottish Grand National.

“Because it’s at the end of the season you want to make sure your horse is fresh. Since September we’ve been talking about this race for Big River and not just ‘tacking it on’ at the end of the season.”

Big River finished fourth in last month’s Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, a race won by Beware The Bear, who is Saturday’s top weight.

Vintage Clouds, who fell at the first fence at Aintree last week and was third at Ayr last year, will be another likely to attract strong interest in a 28-strong field.

Crosshue Boy, trained by Sean Doyle in County Wexford, will be supported to take the prize back across the Irish Sea. He beat Alan King’s ante-post favourite Dingo Dollar last year and is fancied to overcome a heavier weight this time.

Sandy Thomson’s Geronimo, ridden by Rachel McDonald, is the only other Scottish-trained horse in action.

Merigo, winner in 2010 and 2012, was the last horse trained in Scotland to win the race.

Early prices: 8-1 Big River, Dingo Dollar, 9-1 Beware The Bear, 10-1 Crosshue Boy, Vintage Clouds, 14-1 Cloth Cap, Geronimo, 16-1 bar 


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