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Scottish Grand National Tips

Get ready for the 2019 Scottish Grand National with RacingTips' betting tips and predictions, provided for free by our expert tipsters. We'll have tips ahead of every race in the two-day schedule at Ayr. 

2019 Scottish Grand National Betting Tips

Jon's Ante-Post TipsBIG RIVERGET 10/1 HERE
BRIAN BORANHAGET 25/1 HERE
Brian's Two Against The FieldDINGO DOLLARGET 8/1 HERE

CHIC NAMEGET 20/1 HERE

2019 Scottish Grand National Preview

Lucinda Russell was delighted to see former Grand National winner, One For Arthur return to form with a sixth-place finish at Aintree. The Scottish-native is yet to experience success in this version of the National, but BIG RIVER (10/1 William Hill) has been campaigned lightly with this race in mind and he looks primed to run a big race.

Regularly in the frame during his novice season, Big River didn’t reappear until the start of December this time around, where the well-backed favourite fell midway-through the Rehearsal Chase. An equally unconvincing effort followed at Carlisle a couple of weeks later and Russell’s team wouldn’t have held much hope that Big River could mount a serious challenge as he entered the Ultima at Cheltenham.

Beware The Bear made the headlines, with Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad running blinders in-behind. Few, however, noticed the progress of Big River – who looked to be struggling at the rear entering the final circuit, but stayed on better than any of his rivals to finish less than seven lengths behind the winner in fourth.

Russell’s nine-year-old has winning form here at Ayr, having romped to victory in a handicap hurdle in 2017. That performance at Cheltenham was an excellent result to bring into the National and Big River is sure to remain on an extremely workable mark. It’s easy to see why he’s one of the ante-post favourite. 

Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson combined in 2013 to land this prize with Godsmejudge, and DINGO DOLLAR (9/1, William Hill) could post a big effort for the same trainer and jockey combination.

The seven-year old Golden Lariat gelding won small-field contests at Newbury and Doncaster either side of a short break back in the 2017/18 jumps season, and he chased home Crosshue Boy on this card twelve months ago when beaten just one length by that rival.

He has faced some stiff tests this campaign, but he ran well for third in an attritional Ladbrokes Trophy Chase prior to finishing sixth in the Sky Bet Chase where he was let down by his jumping. However, he bounced back from that run returned to the same track and jumping with more fluency when finding only Chidswell too good in the Grimthorpe Chase under a big weight.

He was booked for third until left second by the fall of Looking Well, although he had no chance with the winner. He has been eased 1lb in the weights, but there is a suspicion he has a big performance in him from this sort of mark and the longer trip here ought to suit given he has looked a thorough stayer on more than one occasion.

As things stand at the time of writing, he has an 8lb pull at the weights with Nicky Richards’ charge who could reoppose; while he holds Brian Borahana on the same form line from that Doncaster run. He could post a big run here.

READ: Brian's full Scottish Grand National preview here...

Scottish Grand National

The Scottish Grand National is one of the highlights in the final stages of the jumps season, and each year more than 16,000 people flock to Ayr racecourse to witness the great race.

Ayr staged its first Scottish Grand National in 1966, when the race was moved there following the closure of Bogside racecourse. The history of the race dates back much further, with the earliest running dating back to 1858.

Bookmakers generally agree that the race generates the fifth biggest turnover of the year in terms of betting, and its popularity with racing fans means that it is one of the most eagerly anticipated handicaps of the season.

The race itself is classed as a Grade Three Handicap Chase, and is run over a distance of four miles and half a furlong.

Ayr Racecourse

Although horse racing in Ayr has been taking place since the 1570s, it took two hundred years for 'official' meetings to be held, and a true racecourse was not constructed until 1907. Ayr Racecourse is a 'dual track' course, with circuits for both National Hunt and flat racing. 

Originally just a flat course, jumps were added in 1950 which eventually led to the Scottish Grand National being moved there, sixteen years later. As well as the National, Ayr hosts the annual Gold Cup in September, which is the richest sprint handicap in Europe. 

The racecourse also hosts the Scottish Champion Hurdle (April), the Rothesay Stakes (May) and the Land O'Burns Fillies' Stakes (June).

Scottish Grand National Betting Guide

There are some key trends which must be looked at when trying to pick the winner of the Scottish Grand National. 

Stamina is key, and the vast majority of winners will have already won a Class One or a Class Two race over at least three miles before running in the Scottish Grand National. On the same note, experience is often important. The hurly burly nature of big fields in handicap chases means that most winners of the race will have had at least eight runs over fences. Being aged no younger than eight years old is also deemed advantageous.

Weight is also a key trend, with a clear pattern favouring lightly weighted horses. The vast majority of winners carry no more than 10st 7lbs, and the only top weight to win the race in 16 years was Grey Abbey in 2004, who had plenty of form in Graded races.

The Scottish Grand National is a long hard race, and coming as it does towards the end of the season, it is also a big advantage for the horse to be fresh. As such, most winners will have had no more than six runs that season leading into the big race.

Despite the fact that three horses have managed to win the race three times, multiple winners are now rare. The last victory from one of those treble winners was in 1956. The normal big stables also haven’t had the best of records in the race, and it has been won many times by smaller yards. 

One notable fact is that horses trained by Irish-based trainers have not won the Scottish Grand National since 1869, a particularly shocking statistic given the increasing influence of Irish horses on the results of big races in Britain. It is surely only a matter of time before the likes of Willie Mullins breaks the hoodoo over the Irish runners.

Scottish Grand National Schedule

The Scottish Grand National is of course the biggest race at the annual Ayr Grand National Festival meeting, but there are plenty of other races for both punters and horse racing fans to enjoy over a two-day period. 

Regarded as the most important two days of the Scottish racing calendar, the festival usually kicks off mid-April, on the Friday. On Friday, which is known as 'Ladies Day', the feature race is the 'Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase' which awards a hefty prize purse to the winner. There are usually seven races in total, commencing around two o'clock. 

Day two of course sees the racing of the Scottish Grand National, although there are seven other races in addition. The National is the richest race in Scottish steeplechase racing, with the winning owner taking home over £200,000. The festival usually draws to a close around six o'clock, late afternoon.

Scottish Grand National - Past Winners

Ayr racecourse is mostly a level, left handed track and has a gentle climb to the finish, but should the heavens open in advance of racing, conditions are known to get extremely testing indeed. The race often features horses who have failed to complete in the Aintree Grand National, which is run just a couple of weeks before. 

Only one horse in history has managed to win both races in the same season, the legendary Red Rum, who did the double in 1974. That said, several horses have managed to win both Grand Nationals in different seasons, most recently Little Polveir and Earth Summit.

Upcoming Festivals

There are plenty more festivals coming up in the next few weeks, and our team will provide a whole host of betting tips and predictions for each one, plus our preview of all the races.

You can also find daily horse racing tips here.

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