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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 races position in the calendar means that punters are often bathed in April sunshine, a novel experience for jumps racing fans, and tickets generally sell out well in advance of the fixture. The race itself is classed as a Grade Three Handicap Chase, and is run over a distance of four miles and half a furlong.

scottish grand national tips

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.
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.

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