King has faith in Scottish National hope Godsmejudge

Proud Scotsman Alan King believes Godsmejudge could be coming back to form at the right time ahead of his defence of the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

King has faith in Scottish National hope Godsmejudge

Although based at Barbury Castle Stables in Wiltshire, King was born in Lanark and raised outside Hamilton and described last year’s triumph as “something awfully special”.

Godsmejudge has endured a disappointing campaign so far, pulling up on his last two appearances, but King, who also saddles Midnight Appeal, is hopeful he can bounce back this weekend.

He said: “Both horses seem well and we’re looking forward to the race.

“Things obviously haven’t gone great this season for Godsmejudge, but he seems to be coming back to himself and the drying ground should suit him well.

“Midnight Appeal is in in good form and I think the ground will be in his favour as well.

“This has been his plan for some time. He has been running well in big handicaps all season.

“It is an unknown trip-wise, but he has always given the impression he will stay.”

Wayne Hutchinson guided Godsmejudge to victory 12 months ago, but after suffering injury at Towcester on Thursday, Aidan Coleman takes over in the saddle.

Coleman told Racing UK: “Unfortunately for Hutch he hurt his knee in a fall on Thursday and I am not sure how long he’s going to be out for.

“Godsmejudge won the race last year and he’s only 6lb higher. I know he’s pulled up on his two most recent starts but horses who have run well in the Scottish National before, usually do so again, plus Alan King’s horses are in terrific form.

“I’ll have a chat with Hutch and hopefully Godsmejudge can go close.”

Leading Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell feels she has three live chances as she aims to fulfil a lifelong ambition by winning the Scottish National for the first time.

The Andrew Parker-trained Merigo became the first Scottish-trained winner of the race since Cockle Strand in 1982 when striking gold in the Ayr marathon in 2010 and he went on to regain his crown two years later.

Now Kinross-based Russell wants to add her name to the list.

“Whenever I’ve been asked which race I would like to win the most, the answer has always been the Scottish Grand National,” said Russell. “It would mean a lot to us and it’s great to be going there with three good chances.”

Assessing the chances of her trio, she added: “Green Flag ran a fantastic race at Cheltenham. We were delighted with him and his form is rock solid.

“I’ve been delighted with the way Lie Forrit has been running over hurdles and he is on a decent weight over fences compared to his hurdles mark. I’m pretty sure he’ll stay the four miles and he should have every chance as well.

“I’d be very confident Nuts N Bolts will get the trip and this has been his main aim for the season.”

Heading the weights for the extended four-mile contest is the Paul Nicholls-trained veteran Tidal Bay, turning out quickly after exiting the Grand National at Aintree last weekend at the Canal Turn.

“My view is that he’s 13 and we’re not saving him for anything,” trainer Paul Nicholls told At The Races.

“He schooled on Thursday morning, jumped really well and was feeling well, so we thought we’d let him take his chance.

“Arguably he’s well handicapped and he’s capable of running a big race.”

Nicholls also runs the second horse in at the weights, Sam Winner. He said: “He’s got a big chance. Four miles will suit him well and it’s a good race for a novice.”

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson bids for his first Scottish Grand National victory and fires two bullets in Hadrian’s Approach and Roberto Goldback.

He said: “Both horses are in good form and I think this sort of race should suit them.

“Good ground is pretty essential to Roberto Goldback and it’s also a big plus for Hadrian’s Approach.”

There are two Irish-trained runners in the field, with Stuart Crawford’s Yes Tom joined on the journey by the Colin McBratney-trained Sole Witness.

Yes Tom won twice and placed six times from nine starts at Ayr when trained by Crawford’s fellow County Antrim trainer Roy Wilson and made a winning debut for his new trainer at Down Royal last month.

Crawford said: “He had a great start for us in Down Royal, it was a nice confidence booster for the horse and we’ve been very happy with him since.

“We’re quite excited about his chances.”

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