We turn the clock back as Dingo Dollar aims to give us a second Scottish National celebration
For all his big-race successes at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals also at Royal Ascot, Alan has a special place in his scrapbook reserved for the 2013 Scottish Grand National triumph of Godsmejudge.
Being as he hails from north of the border and only a few miles from Ayr racecourse, Alan was realising a lifelong dream when winning Scotland’s biggest jumps race six years ago, and now he hopes Dingo Dollar might replicate that celebration there tomorrow.
Alan said:”This has been Dingo Dollar’s target since he ran such an excellent race to finish third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in early December.
“That day he produced a solid front-running performance, jumping superbly and understandably finishing the race looking tired as we could have done without the rain that made the ground as testing as he could handle.
“Since then, we have very much had to plan the road to Ayr around the weather forecast, but I was really pleased with his comeback second at Doncaster last month, and that race has put him spot on for this with the ground seemingly coming in our favour this time.”
Summing up his hopes for our other Ayr runners, Alan added:”I also got a big kick out of winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle in 2012 with Raya Star, and, hopefully, we have strong chances of emulating that feat with Dino Velvet and Redicean.
“Dino Velvet is on a hat-trick but is now 12lb higher than when starting his winning run at Market Rasen in February, so the handicapper has forced our hand somewhat in stepping him up in class for this Grade 2 race, though he loves to pass horses at the end of the race so a strong gallop will suit him ideally.
“Redicean has been running well on the all-weather since we switched him from hurdling after he was beaten at Wincanton in November, and he has won twice and not been beaten far in his other two races, so his confidence is back and this seems the right time for him to return to jumping.
“Ballywood takes his chance in the Future Champions Novices’ Chase, and, though he is a horse I am very much looking forward to for next season, he deserves a shot at this, having given 26lb and a beating to Valseur du Granval at Ludlow.
“The runner-up has since franked the form by bolting up on a return to Ludlow, and I think there is plenty more to come from our fellow who is another who will be suited by the drying ground.
“The way Azzerti stayed on to finish third in the two and a half miler at last month’s Cheltenham Festival suggested he is ready for a step up to three miles, so we are rolling the dice in the novices handicap chase.
“We have saved Potterman for the handicap hurdle for amateurs and conditionals, having had second thoughts about running on Friday. He is ground dependent and another 24 hours will have helped underfoot conditions improve still further.
“And finally Sheshoon Sonny runs in the concluding bumper. He won well at Wetherby after finishing second to Get in the Queue at Exeter, and that form looks pretty smart after the winner subsequently won a valuable bumper at Newbury.”
And talking of Newbury, we have an each-way shot for the valuable Spring Cup there in Chatez. He has a win and a second at the course in two visits, and he is a better horse on the Flat than he was over hurdles, having had a few issues with his back after jumping.
“We pulled him out of the Lincoln because of the quick ground, and, though they have had a couple of dry days at Newbury, the going ought to be good to soft which would be fine.”
So with both Tiffin Top and Perfect Predator heading off to Wincanton on Sunday on a high, Alan has hopes that this might well be a week-end to remember.