Notachance going down the Godsmejudge route at Ayr in April

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January 17

Alan has a great affinity with the Scottish National, having been born up the road from Ayr, and he won the race with Godsmejudge in 2013 and finished second with the same horse 12 months later.

So it was only natural that Scotland’s most prestigious steeplechase on April 17 would be his chosen spring target for Notachance, who gave Alan his third success in Warwick’s Classic Chase on Saturday.

Notachance, at seven the youngest horse in the race, had only run five times previously, but, having won well at Bangor he went off co-favourite for this gruelling marathon in testing ground, and he dug deep from the final fence to win by half a length from Achille.

Bookmakers were quick to hand out ante-post prices about Notachance for Aintree’s Grand National the week before Ayr, but Alan was quick to rule out a trip to Merseyside.

Alan said:”It is a personal thing, but I have never been a fan of the Aintree National, and the owners feel the same. Notachance is a progressive young horse who has really improved this season.

“I have always thought that he was a better horse on good ground, so come April at Ayr underfoot conditions might suit him ideally.

“He pricked his ears from the second last at Warwick but still kept on finding, and he seems to have matured and now finishing his races off properly. We won’t over-race him, but we’ll look for one more before Ayr.”

Jay Bee Why, who was also in action at Warwick, was still in contention at the second last in the Grade 2 novice, fading to finish fifth. He was jumping up in class so there was a lot to like about this performance, and there could be some good staying races around the corner.

There was further encouragement for Alan at Market Rasen on Saturday, when the classy Edwardstone made light of topweight in the handicap hurdle, prompting bookmakers to cut his odds for next month’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury to 12-1.

Mondays are often mundane, but tomorrow is an interesting one for Barbury, with Rainbow Dreamer having a date at Wolverhampton for the fast-track qualifier for the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Alan said:”We have been working back from Good Friday all season, and this looks the ideal next race. He took a good blow when having his first run for a long time at Newcastle in December, so he ought to come on for that.”