Gallant Oscar could provide rare Irish win at Scottish Grand National

Tony Martin’s antepost favourite would be the first raiding victor in 147 years

 

The Coral Scottish Grand National has proved an elusive target for Irish raiders over the years but punters appear set to put their trust in Tony Martin to put that right with Gallant Oscar in the prestigious Ayr marathon.

Legendary owner JP McManus has already expressed similar trust by buying the antepost favourite during the week and Gallant Oscar will lead a team of five Irish trained horses into the last National of the season.

Since the Ayr authorities reckon it is 147 years since the sole previous Irish-trained winner of Scotland’s most famous race, the task for the raiders is a considerable one although history didn’t stop Jim Dreaper securing Ireland’s only Welsh National victory with Notre Pere in 2008.

Too fast

However, Martin’s reputation as a handicap maestro sees bookmakers taking no chances with Gallant Oscar who secured a National of the Leinster variety at Naas last year and will have the assistance of Paul Carberry to help guide him through four miles against 29 opponents.

A win would provide Carberry with a full set of Grand National victories, having already won at Aintree, Fairyhouse and Chepstow during his stellar career.

Martin’s no National novice either, scoring in the 2001 Irish National with David’s Lad and the 2009 Kerry National with Northern Alliance and he said: “Gallant Oscar ran very well in Cheltenham [third to The Druid’s Nephew] so he deserves his chance to go for another big pot.

“He won over three miles in winter ground last season, so you’d be hoping the trip wouldn’t be any bother to him. And he has a nice weight on his back.”

The Martin team will also fancy their chances in the Scottish Champion Hurdle, a limited handicap that sees I Shot The Sheriff on just 10.5, and on the back of an impressive victory at Fairyhouse.

“Until we run him on better ground we don’t know how he’ll handle it, but he’s a good-actioned horse and I’d be happy enough he’ll be okay,” Martin said of Paul Townend’s mount.

In other National Hunt news, watering has begun at Punchestown due to a settled weather forecast for the week ahead. Ground conditions there are currently “yielding”.

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