Alan gives Ayr a miss to head for Bangor on Saturday

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April 20

You would think that the one place that would get a bellyful of April showers at this time of the year would be the west coast of Scotland.

However, not a bit of it. Ayr, who stage the Scottish Grand National tomorrow, their most important steeplechase of the season, have been watering since Thursday following a dry week, with no significant rain expected until Saturday night.

Consequently, Alan, who enjoyed one of his finest moments in racing when winning the Ayr marathon 10 years ago with Godsmejudge, and also saddled third and fourth last year, has pulled out Notachance and won’t even have a runner at the two-day meeting, having also withdrawn Egbert from today’s  novices staying handicap hurdle.

Alan, who was born not far from Ayr, explained:”The course dries up quickly, and my one worry for Notachance would be that on quick ground he might have been run off his feet early on. That happened at Haydock, where he ran his one disappointing race of the season.”

So, instead Alan will be focussing on Bangor tomorrow, where he has four runners.

He said:”Madiba Passion switches to the two-mile chase at Bangor after Tuesday’s card at Newton Abbot was abandoned. He showed improvement when runner-up at Lingfield last time and will be suited by any drying ground.

“I’d also be hopeful about Nothingtochance in the novice handicap hurdle. She is a progressive mare who won well at Fakenham.

“Finally, we run one in each of the two divisions of the junior bumper. Dancing in Brazil over-raced at Kempton last time, so we are equipping him with a different bit, which should help him settle better. I still maintain that he is a good horse in the making.

Atlantic View is our runner in the other leg. He is a horse who brings back happy memories as he is out of L’Unique, who won me the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at Aintree 10 years ago.

“Though ready to start, Atlantic Time has taken plenty of time and will improve an awful lot mentally for the experience.”