Lie Forrit poised to be hero in Scottish Grand National

There would be no more popular winner of the 2015 Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr today than the Lucinda Russell-trained Lie Forrit.

He burst on the scene when trained by Willie Amos in the 2008-09 season when he was ridden by Campbell Gillies, a promising jockey who lost his life nearly three years ago.

Lie Forrit is owned by Gillies’ grandfather John McNeill, his uncle Crawford McNeill and his mother, Lesley Gillies.

The 11-year-old was moved to Russell – for whom Gillies won a Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival on Brindisi Breeze – 18 months ago and has recaptured his best, as he showed when winning the Grand National Trial at Haydock, his third success this season.

He was pulled up in this race 12 months ago, but Russell feels he is in better shape now.

“He’s been in fantastic form all season and he’s gone up in the handicap because he’s run so well each time,” said Russell.

“The race was a bit of an afterthought a year ago, but this time we’ve sort of had this as a target for quite a while.

“The ground and the track should be fine for him, he’s on as high a mark as he’s ever been over fences but maybe the extra distance might just bring out a bit more improvement.

“The Scottish National is a big thing to us and we’ve had a few nice horses run well in it.

“The thing about this horse is he’s always had quite a big following, so if he were to win it, I think it would mean a lot to a lot of people in Scotland, not just us.”

Ante-post favourite for the race for some time has been Tony Martin’s Gallant Oscar, who ran so well behind The Druids Nephew at Cheltenham. He was bought by leading owner JP McManus this week but he is too low in the weights for Tony McCoy to ride, so Paul Carberry is in the saddle.

“Hopefully all goes well. I’d be quite happy with him going into the race,” said Martin.

“He ran very well in Cheltenham, so he deserves his chance to go for another big pot.

“He won over three miles in winter ground last season, so you’d be hoping the trip wouldn’t be any bother to him. He has a nice weight on his back and I hope he’ll run a good race.”

McCoy’s intended mount Benvolio was declared a non-runner before 9am yesterday.

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