Junior still in frame for Scottish National

Early Aintree casualty Junior could bid for swift compensation in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday.

The Royal Ascot and Cheltenham Festival winner was considered by many as a major contender for last weekend’s John Smith’s Grand National, but his race was over by the second fence.

Trainer David Pipe reports the nine-year-old to be none the worse and he could make the long journey from Devon to Scotland.

Speaking on his website www.davidpipe.com, the Pond House handler said: “Junior was an early casualty, departing at the second fence and as such he doesn’t know that he has had a race.

“We have left him in the Scottish National at Ayr this weekend and he could well participate in that, although he will have to contend with top-weight.”

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls landed his first ever Grand National with Neptune Collonges at Aintree and his Harry The Viking, owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is the 6-1 favourite with the sponsors for the Scottish equivalent.

Ruby Walsh fancies his chances on the seven-year-old, who was second to Teaforthree at Cheltenham.

“He ran a cracker to come second in the four-miler at the Cheltenham Festival, and must have a great chance,” Walsh told www.racinguk.com.

Coral also report money for Scottish trained pair Lie Forrit (12-1 from 16-1) and Abbeybraney (25-1 from 40-1).

Coral’s David Stevens said: “Merigo was a popular ’home’ winner of Scotland’s biggest race two years ago, and the money for Lie Forrit and Abbeybraney suggests the prize could be staying north of the border once again, although another proud Scotsman, Sir Alex Ferguson, will be hoping that’s not the case.”

Coral Scottish Grand National, sponsors bet: 6-1 Harry The Viking, 9-1 Merigo, Portrait King, 10-1 Ikorodu Road, Knockara Beau, 12-1 Lie Forrit, 12-1 Junior 14-1 Galaxy Rock, West End Rocker, 16-1 Fruity O’Rooney, 20-1 Auroras Encore, Benny Be Good, Lively Baron, Mostly Bob, Walkon, 25-1 bar.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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