Irish runners aim to bridge 146-year gap in Scottish National
Gallant Oscar among the favourites to record first win for an Irish-trained horse since 1869
Goonyella won the Midlands National on his last start under Johnny Burke and the jockey should be available to renew the partnership in Saturday’s Scottish Grand National, despite a fall at Tramore over the weekend. Photograph: Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Gallant Oscar skipped the Irish Grand National and failed to make the cut for the Aintree National, but is among the favourites to bridge a 146-year gap in this Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.
The Tony Martin-trained nine-year-old is among 54 entries left in the marathon contest and bookmakers initially took no chances with Gallant Oscar, quoting him as low as 8-1 favourite to win.
Gallant Oscar was at one stage an ante-post favourite for the Irish National on Easter Monday after a fine third to The Druids Nephew at Cheltenham. But Aintree was a preferred option – only for the horse to not make the top 40 in the weights.
Other Irish interest on Saturday could revolve around Jim Dreaper’s Uttoxeter winner Goonyella, but the raiders face a statistical mountain to climb since the Ayr authorities reckon the last Irish-trained winner of Scotland’s most famous race was the Larry Hyland-trained and ridden Huntsman in 1869.
Goonyella won the Midlands National on his last start under Johnny Burke and the jockey should be available to renew the partnership despite a fall at Tramore over the weekend.
Tony McCoy has won the Scottish National once, on Belmont King in 1997, and is to partner Jonjo O’Neill’s Catching On as he continues the countdown to his retirement at Sandown on Saturday week.