Scottish Grand National

The Scottish Grand National 2024 takes place at Ayr on Saturday afternoon, with Willie Mullins saddling a number of the betting favourites in his bid for the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship title.

Architect Tips previews the leading runners and names his two best value tips.

Scottish Grand National Runners

Git Maker

  • Trainer: Jamie Snowden
  • Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
  • Form: 211162
  • Odds: 8/1

 

Last seen finishing an excellent second at the Cheltenham Festival in the Kim Muir, Jamie Snowden has had this race mapped out for his progressive eight-year-old. He’s won three of his six starts since being stepped up in distance to three miles.

The form of that second last month has worked out well, with the winner, Inothewayurthinkin, subsequently winning a hot Grade 1 race at Aintree. He’s a tough and genuine horse - a 1lb rise for that latest career-best performance is lenient. 

Macdermott 

  • Trainer: Willie Mullins 
  • Jockey: Danny Mullins
  • Form: 1682F1
  • Odds: 9/1

 

After taking the Randox Grand National with I Am Maximum this past weekend, it was hardly surprising to see Willie Mullins’ six-year-old shortening with sponsors. 

He has improved with each start over fences, and having looked unlucky when he departed at the second last fence in his penultimate start at Limerick, he made no mistake at Fairyhouse earlier this month. 

His jumping was a bit sticky, as he made several mistakes, but he dominated proceedings from the front. That was his first go over three miles on testing ground, and he handled it with aplomb. 

In the end, he strolled to an easy 12-length success, and there’s every chance he will improve again over this distance. He will need to jump better, but he’s unexposed and he is open to plenty more improvement.

Spanish Harlem

  • Trainer: Willie Mullins 
  • Jockey: Paul Townend
  • Form: 22P333
  • Odds: 9/1

 

Another representative for Willie Mullins. Although he has yet to scale the heights of his lofty price tag when purchased from France, he has shaped with promise in each of his three starts over fences thus far. 

This will be a significant step-up in trip and grade, but he’s open to improvement and could go well under Paul Townend.

Anglers Crag

  • Trainer: Brian Ellison 
  • Jockey: Henry Brooke
  • Form: 371111
  • Odds: 10/1

 

The nine-year-old has transformed into a winning machine since joining the Brian Ellison stable by winning all four starts, including when he toughed it out to land the Eider Chase at Newcastle last time out. That was his first start over a distance that far and he travelled sweetly throughout. 

Despite a bad mistake at the second last fence, he did well to rally up the run-in to succeed. The handicapper hasn’t taken any chances by giving him an 8Ib rise in the ratings, which does leave him on a career high mark of 134, but I doubt he’s finished improving, and he’s entitled to run well. 

Mr Incredible 

  • Trainer: Willie Mullins
  • Jockey: Patrick Mullins
  • Form: 23U2U
  • Odds: 11/1

 

This is a quirky but highly talented horse. However, he unfortunately unseated his rider for the second year in a row in the Grand National last weekend when badly hampered, having travelled well until his departure each time and been well backed.

Nevertheless, he previously caught the eye at Uttoxeter in the Midlands National, in which he finished a staying-on second. His effort can be markedly upgraded for various reasons, including the fact that he was conceding the winner lumps of weight.

He was carrying top-weight of 12st on deep ground over the four-mile and two-furlong distance and was hitting the line strongest of all when beaten under two lengths. The quick turnaround shouldn't be an issue, as he didn't have much of a race at Aintree.

He is up to a career-high mark of 153 now, but he won’t lack stamina; he’s generally a good jumper, and I have no doubt this horse has a big pot in him for connections. This could be his day if he can put it all together and gets a touch more luck. 

Inis Oirr

  • Trainer: Lucinda Russell
  • Jockey: Derek Fox
  • Form: -U4251
  • Odds: 12/1

 

Lucinda Russell’s Inis Oirr has attracted plenty of support in recent days and was last seen winning the Edinburgh National by 21 lengths. 

His stable won this back in 2021, and the seven-year-old has been saved for this race since. He gets into it at a low weight and should have more to offer over marathon trips.

He could run well, especially if the ground continues to dry out.

Whacker Clan 

  • Trainer: Henry de Bromhead
  • Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
  • Form: 931173
  • Odds: 14/1

 

This Irish raider is having a great season. He won back-to-back races towards the end of last year and subsequently ran well to finish third in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival. 

There seems no reason why he should reverse form with the runner-up Git Maker, but improvement is likely on the cards. 

Stay Away Fay 

  • Trainer: Paul Nicholls 
  • Jockey: Harry Cobden
  • Form: 14113P
  • Odds: 14/1

 

The winner of last year’s Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham is a class act in the field. He won his first couple of starts over fences, including a defeat of Grey Dawning on his chase debut. The latter has immensely boosted the form since and is considered to be a Gold Cup contender next season.

The seven-year-old ran a tidy race when third in the Cotswold Chase in his penultimate start but failed to give his true running when pulled in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase last month. If you minus that performance from his CV or forgive him for it, though, then he would surely be pushing for favouritism.

That isn’t the case, though, so even with a formidable task ahead of him with carrying top weight, he cannot be ruled out. His trainer will be doing everything in his power to secure the British Jumps Trainers’ title. He’s won this three times in his career, including back-to-back with Vicente, who is of lesser class. 

This athletically built, reminiscent old-fashioned chaser looks custom-made for this extreme test of stamina, and the conditions won’t bother him either. He is the stable's main hopeful this year, and I’m optimistic that he will deliver a good performance. I think we’ll see a different horse than the one we saw last time.

My Silver Lining 

  • Trainer: Emma Lavelle 
  • Jockey: James Best
  • Form: 122123
  • Odds: 16/1

 

An extremely consistent mare who is in the form of her life. She has won three times and placed three times in the last 12 months. After winning the Classic Chase at Warwick earlier this year, she’s since made the frame in the Haydock Grand National Trial and Midlands National. 

Her mark has only been raised a couple of pounds, and this slightly shorter trip will suit. I doubt she’s finished improving, and the fact she was right in the mix last time out despite losing a shoe entitles her effort to be upgraded. Her jumping will stand her in good stead, so she’s another to consider.

Mr Vango

  • Trainer: Sara Bradstock
  • Jockey: Ben Jones
  • Form: 2P3313
  • Odds: 16/1

 

After winning the Devon National by an incredible 60 lengths, the lightly-raced eight-year-old was then highly tested in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last month. 

Despite the relatively quick turnaround, he gave a courageous account of himself to finish third, having forced the issue from the word go. 

He had a mountain to climb at the weights with several of his opponents, including the top two in the market who were rated 150+.

Even after being headed by the front pair, Corbetts Cross and Embassy Gardens, though, he kept on well to make the frame. He would have learned a lot from that race and has been aimed at this since.

He returns to handicap company off a 15Ib higher mark than when he won at Exeter, but in retrospect, he’s only had three starts over fences and is a strong stayer with a liking for the mud. His assured jumping and buckets of stamina will surely see him make a bold bid from the front here, so he’s one for the shortlist.

Beauport 

  • Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies 
  • Jockey: Jordan Nailor
  • Form: 9F52P1
  • Odds: 20/1

 

Not the best of jumpers, but he’s certainly got an engine and that carried him to success in the Midlands National last time out. I have been a fan of those for a long time and it was good to see him succeed last time out. 

A 5Ib rise seems quite generous and he will love the anticipated rain-softened ground. If he can keep his jumping together, he’s sure to be thereabouts for a stable that has won this three times in the past.

Ballygrifincottage

  • Trainer: Dan Skelton
  • Jockey: Harry Skelton
  • Form: PP3P52
  • Odds: 20/1

 

There are not many miles on the clock on this nine-year-old. Although he’s not delivered on the promise he showed over hurdles as a novice, I’m actually quite confident he will run a big race for the title-chasing Dan Skelton here. 

Two years ago, he finished an honourable fourth in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. While the wheels fell off after an impressive chase debut, he returned to form with a close-up second at Sandown last time out. 

There were positives to glean from that effort, as he was carrying top weight, and he’s been left on the same mark for this race. Additionally, he will be at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of weight in comparison to last time.

That is always handy in such a fiercely competitive race as this, and it is hard to forget how impressively he destroyed the reopposing Beauport on his chase debut at Haydock by 11 lengths, where he had too many gears. 

He’s not much worse off at the weights should they meet again here. All in all, he ticks a lot of the boxes and is evidently well treated with a mark of 135, so I’m inclined to think he has a cracking each-way chance at double-figure odds.

We’llhavewan

  • Trainer: Willie Mullins 
  • Jockey: Kieran Callaghan
  • Form: 916126
  • Odds: 28/1

 

Just like the previous candidate, this nine-year-old will represent Willie Mullins. He’s won two of his last three starts and has caught the eye several times in defeat. 

He didn’t do too badly when he finished a distant second in the Grand National Trial in his penultimate start before filling sixth place in the Irish Grand National last time out. 

I know he has to compete out of the weights, but he can’t be taken lightly, given who trains him. I can see him outrunning his odds. 

Scottish Grand National Tips & Predictions

STAY AWAY FAY (tipped at 12/1) had excuses when pulled in the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival and remains one of the leading staying novices this season. 

This Grade 1 winning hurdler won’t find this easy carrying top weight, but he’s a high-class horse, and the combination of his staying power and accurate jumping technique should see him make a bold bid. He has the class to run a huge race, with five places widely available.

Stay Away Fay, 0.5 pts E/W, 12/1, 5 places 

BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE (tipped at 25/1) returned to form with a fine second last time out and could also be suited to the step-up in distance here. He will sneak into this at a tiny weight, and his mark is well within his capabilities. 

Dan Skelton’s charge has plenty more to come and is another who should relish the extreme test of stamina. With most firms offering five places (and some even going to seven), this unexposed nine-year-old makes plenty of each-way appeal.

Ballygrifincottage, 0.5 pts E/W, 25/1, 5 places