It's Scottish Grand National day at Ayr on Sunday and Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls has some big chances among his eight runners, including in the feature race itself...
Best Chance: Tamaroc Du Mathan - 15:00 Ayr. "A smart young chaser who has plenty going for him in a race I like to target."
Galloping track should suit down in trip
He was a bit too keen at Newbury last month over two and a half miles so as he has shown good form over the minimum trip, including a victory in the Elite Hurdle, we are dropping him back to two miles and putting back on the hood he usually wears. The big galloping track at Ayr should play to his strengths.
Hopeful of another big run after recent win
He is so consistent and after campaigning at the top level this season he deserved his day in the sun at Plumpton recently with a fluent success in the Sussex Champion Hurdle ridden by Angus Cheleda. It's a bonus that under the race conditions he only has to carry one pound of his penalty and Angus again claims a handy 7lbs. So I'm hopeful of another big run.
Decent chance with ground in his favour
Conditions at Ayr are ideal for Thyme White who has plenty of pace and is at his best on the forecast good ground at Ayr. Cheltenham didn't suit Thyme White on slower ground last time and I've had this race in mind for him for a while. Decent chance.
This race has been his target
He has taken to fences like a natural, has quickly developed into a smart novice and we deliberately side-stepped Cheltenham to wait for this race. I couldn't be happier with Tamaroc Du Mathan who impressed in the Pendil Chase at Kempton. I am looking forward to seeing how he gets on against the favourite Allmankind.
Big improver has conditions in his favour
He made giant strides in the autumn on good ground that is crucial for him. He started off winning a novice handicap at Bangor off a mark of 118 and is now up to 144 after three more victories at Newton Abbot. In October he was also the only one to make a race of it at Cheltenham with Galvin on unfavourable terms. Galvin then won the NH Chase at the Festival last month.
Soldier of Love has had a nice winter holiday and this looks a great race for him with conditions in his favour. He has been ready for a while and we lined him up for this once the ground was too soft for him to run at Cheltenham.
Cheek pieces could bring about some improvement
It's fair to say he hasn't lived up to our expectations over fences this season but he ran all right back over hurdles last time once he warmed up. On better ground at Ayr in calmer waters I am expecting him to go ok in this and I'm hoping that cheek pieces first time might help sharpen his jumping and bring out some improvement.
Step up in trip can suit
He ran very well at Stratford recently on his second start after a long lay off of over 700 days. That was over two miles and this step up in trip should suit him nicely. Sporting chance.
Megan can shine again in competitive bumper
He is a lovely prospect who showed bags of promise when finishing second on his debut at Sandown and then won comfortably at Exeter on soft ground early in January. Although the form of that race is solid I didn't want to run him again in testing conditions. He will be ridden in this competitive bumper by my daughter Megan who shone in these colours when winning on Knappers Hill at Aintree eight days ago.